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May 14, 2007 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


The national identity of our country is the land of the long white cloud. That description – a point of pride for most Kiwis – probably comes across to most foreigners as ‘a place where it’s always overcast, gloomy and nondescript’ – not such a good selling point. Perhaps a more appropriate title should be the land of “laid backs”. We have probably the most down-to-earth attitudes in the world, demonstrated by national icons like Sir Edmund Hillary and Peter Jackson. How many other movie directors of similar importance would wear shorts to world premieres? In New Zealand it’s almost expected protocol to hear “settle down” or “that’s pretty full on” after an outburst of emotion or pride.

Being so laid-back (almost horizontal) means that Kiwis are not as prone to whinging, despite our British ancestry. For the purposes of this editorial I’d like to break step with that heritage and moan about the media. In this area two things irk me; the way tv presenters talk, and the senseless puns that finish news stories. These often go along the lines of:

(Following a news story about motocross racing, in a vocal style that is thoughtful, playful and empathetic) “Well Mike, that story has left me in the dust”.

Stronger criticisms of the media probably should refer to inaccurate and misleading representations, because taste is hardly important. As an ideological entity the media is supposed to be impartial, accurate and unbiased. With these criteria it’s difficult to see how they could have portrayed a story originating from Salient any less accurately.

On May 5, three weeks after being reported in Salient, the Sunday Star Times described “Opiegate”- the incident involving former acting Woman Rights Officer Clelia Opie’s inappropriate use of psychic hotlines. The errors in that article are numerous and are clearly spelled out by News Editor Laura McQuillan’s article ‘Mainstream media jumps on Salient bandwagon, fucks up pretty bad’ in this issue of Salient. When Salient contacted the Sunday Star Times they failed to acknowledge these errors stating that; “The Sunday Star Times’ piece was drawn entirely from the President’s report and your own and other student accounts of the incident.”

Why they didn’t bother to interview either Geoff, Opie or a representative from Salient is a mystery. Without blowing our own trumpet I’d say we did a better job, but then again I’m the biased editor. This standard of reporting undoubtedly contributes to the finding that 65 per cent of people believe the news is reported accurately. While that result shows a fair level of trust, another finding from the same ten-nation opinion poll shows that 41 per cent disagree that the media covers all sides of a story. That’s a statistic that news organizations should be wary of and from this edition on Salient has taken steps to let you put your trust back in the media. For the first time Salient is introducing video to its website in the form of short confessionals. The idea is simple – just come up to the Salient office sit in front of our iMac web cam and tell the world your deepest secrets.

Clips will be streamed on the Salient website. It’s a development which could influence the future of Salient in significant ways and has tremendous potential for creating and describing news. My gratitude must begin with Hamish and Simon from Catch Design who have been instrumental in giving an abstract idea its foundations. Jon McQueen and Spike also deserve praise for their work securing the iMac, enthusiasm and hard work. Finally Nick Archer deserves a special mention for his countless hours working on ideas and concepts some of which have made it on our website and all of which are unpaid.


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  1. Scissors says:

    Wow. Remember the start of the year, when Steve Nico promised us how awesome and cool and transgressive Salient would be in 2007? Remember how he tried to give himself the persona of a rock god who would make the best magazine in years and shame Chomsky?

    I think everyone can see how truly sad and laughable that is now.

    Marvel at our feature articles! Bloggers tell us which brand of pie is their favorite! Nicola Kean complains about how food around campus is overpriced and greasy! We rehash the orientation issue- badly! Next week I assume the feature article will literally be about nothing because this week’s was close enough.

  2. Brunswick says:

    Hey… that’s not a bad idea. Very ‘Seinfeld’. Either that, or a feature about whiny bloggers who complain about the ‘Top Five’.

  3. Scissors says:

    I think the next Salient should just be 64 blank pages inside a blank cover.

  4. I dunno – the sports column is usually pretty solid.

    … yes, we have a sports column.

  5. katie says:

    Scissors, you may just get your wish.
    By the time half the contributors have been alienated, and illness topples more of the useful people, it may get down to drawing with a crayon and scanning into photoshop directly, for next weeks editorial.
    How bonfire of the vanities can it get?

  6. Brett Davidson says:

    A useless narcissist who thinks he’s Austin Powers crossed with Hunter S. Thompson, really more like a cross between the Pointy-Haired Boss and David Brent… but not in the least bit funny. Now who could I possibly be talking about, hmmm?

    One staffer asked me to contribute – frankly, I wouldn’t wipe my arse with it (too coarse, won’t absorb, lacks convenient perforations).

    Yes, I know that that’s a cliched statment – but does the new “cool and transgressive” Salient deserve original, creative abuse?

  7. Good point Brett, let’s keep it simply and unorginal. Salient – YOU SUCK!

  8. Laura says:

    Do you mean the people who produce it suck, the content sucks, or the magazine itself sucks? I don’t think I suck that much.

  9. Tushara says:

    Oh Laura, you’re really cool. Don’t listen to these haters. If you suck, you only suck lollipops

  10. sven says:

    I’d like you more if you actually wore polarfleece Laura. hehe xx

  11. Soon-to-be-VSM-advocate says:

    Laura – I’d say there’d be a few guys out there that are disappointed to learn that you don’t “suck that much”. Ha ha.. just having fun. You’re alright – even if you do like polar fleece.

  12. Brett Davidson says:


    don’t take it personally. This is no reflection on you, in fact it’s an expression of sympathy for those who put in full-time work and can’t limit their contact to a few article submissions. I speak from personal experience when I say that the fish rots from the head.

    I’ve had toxic employers myself in the past… and I made a lot of money from them when the realised that they’d have to either front up in court or pay up right away.

    Stevie baby will have to realise pretty soon the meaning of the phrase, “The buck stops here” – or the bucks get paid from here…

    Then again, when he heads for fresh fields and pastures new, he might just spend a good many years making coffee and reporting on suburban garden centre openings when real journalists and editors notice that he can’t handle real responsibilities. Finally, he might realise that he’s fucked up badly and it’s not all a conspiracy of idiots who don’t recognise his transcendent journalistic and managerial genius.

    Well, maybe I’m expecting too much self-awareness from someone who’s shown no signs of such maturity yet and probably never will.

    In any case, let’s just let the evidence make the case: childish fruit porn just isn’t the “radical” journalism we were promised. It’s just crap, the sort of nonsense you get from prepubescents who look up rude words in the dictionary and snigger at what they find, that’s all. Salient 2007 is an abortion and there’s just one person who has to take responsibility for that.

    He won’t of course – it’ll always be someone else’s fault or we’re prudes who can’t take a joke. Anyway, I won’t be looking forward to reading any more self-congratulatory editorials because I won’t waste precious seconds of my life reading that shit when I can stare vacantly into space, pick fluff out of my navel, refine my skills in alcoholism or whatever.

    For the edification of the sort of morons who like what Salient has become, I add these words:

    Nipples, penis, balls, vagina, clitoris, ejaculation, tits, psychic hotline.

    See, aren’t they funny, incisive, critical, oh-so-witty?

  13. Holden Iscariot says:

    salent rulz

  14. not scissors says:

    scissors, you are a loser. Fuck off.

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