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September 25, 2008 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

ASPA Awards – A time to be self indulgent

Tomorrow nine Salienteers are headed up to Hamilton on a sojourn that will either end in immortal fame or life devastating shame.

The Aotearoa Student Press Association has an annual conference where us student media cats can all go hang out in one big room, drink booze and be as pretentious as we want. We come together under the guise of an awards ceremony where the best writers among us are celebrated and the pitiful writers are denigrated by the high powered judges that the award ceremony traditionally attracts.

Let’s make it clear now: Winning an ASPA award is like winning a Pulitzer Prize, but betterer.

Last year Salient won three awards. This year we hope for at least four, since last year Salient was pretty shit. I can’t remember everyone who is nominated or what they’re nominated for but I’ll try to recall it through the codeine haze.

Seonah Choi: Best News writer, paid

Tony Barnao: Best Design

Jackson Wood: Best Humour

Michael Oliver: Best Sport

Matthew Proctor: Best Column

Sarah Robson: Best News writer, unpaid

Tania Mead: Best Feature

Haimona Gray: Best Reviewer

Jenna Powell… Not sure, maybe its like best feature series about education of something… but she’s coming up in the van with us tomorrow, so she better win or I’ll kick her in the shins.

If there is anyone else I have forgotten… Oh Tristan might be entered in something… like best editor but he’s already so awesome that a prize goes no way to show how awesome he actually has been as an editor this year and putting up with all our shit.

Oh yeah and if we win enough stuff we might even win the overall award best publication. Which will last won in 2004.

So wish us luck. If you’re not going to wish us luck at least read the fucking magazine you philistine.


About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (78)

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  1. Sam says:

    Good luck guys, hope you win plenty of awards and best mag!

  2. Mr Magoo says:

    I will win best mag for the Daily Magoogle

  3. Michael Oliver says:

    I slap sports columns together like I imagine someone would slap together a rolly cigarette laced with sawdust and oregano. If by some miracle I manage to dupe a panel of judges into thinking that this signifies quality sports journalism, I’ll lose all faith in ASPA and humanity in general.

    But I do think Salient will exceed last year’s results and then some.

  4. Sam says:

    One would hope so anyway, they were abysmal last year.

  5. THE VBC says:

    Best of luck guys!

  6. Chris says:

    I think you mean, “philistine”.

  7. Chris says:

    Well, that’s embarrassing. With my semi-drunken blurred vision I actually thought you did spell it incorrectly. Sorry.

  8. Jackson Wood says:

    Thanks for your support Chris. It means a lot to us.

  9. Annoy Mouse says:

    haha oh chris, if I wasn’t also drunk I would jump through this screen and slap you

  10. Annoy Mouse says:

    but thanks for tuning in. Where’s my awards

  11. Peter Manglethwaite says:

    I just want to know why I wasn’t invited?
    If it was the halitosis, I can chew gum. I also like totally promise not to try and feel up Tony again, that was an honest mistake. You know the long hair, the booze, who I was I to know…

  12. Galapogas says:

    Good luck!

  13. Laura McQuillan says:

    Good luck kids :)

  14. Starbuck says:

    The “slapped together” sports column gets nominated but the beer column doesn’t?

  15. Michael Oliver says:

    Neil’s column is consistently awesome, I agree. And this is coming from someone who can’t drink.

  16. Electrum Stardust says:

    This year’s Salient is the best in a number of years. Probably even better than Emily Braunstein’s, 2005.

  17. nah says:

    Nah…Emily was the best in recent living memory…

  18. Wee Hamish says:

    Good luck, you penny-swindlin’ surrender monkeys.

  19. Matthew_Cunningham says:

    Go Salient Team! If it wasn’t for your awesome articles i’d actually have to spend my working day… well, working, instead of browsing the Salient website :)

  20. Sarita says:

    Yeah, you lot better kick arse, alright?!
    No pressure or anything, but you just have to.


  21. Laura McQuillan says:

    ASPA results for Best Publication:
    1. Critic (Otago University)
    2. Magneto (Massey University, Wellington)
    3. Salient

  22. Wee Hamish says:

    Wow, Magneto outta nowhere. And well done to Critic, I suppose, those crafty southern bastards.

    Tough break – I think the Egarr Salient deserved more than the Nicol Salient of ’07, but thems the breaks. Be interesting to see what the other results are.

  23. Sam says:

    Lame – I agree with Wee Hamish, this year’s Salient kicked last year’s ass. Guess the others must have lifted their games too.

  24. Laura McQuillan says:

    Fuck, anything kicked last year’s Salient’s ass. It was probably the worst in history!

  25. Wee Hamish says:

    Wee Jackson did not stop crying from Hamilton to Wellington.

  26. Sarita says:

    Well, Salient ’08 wins my heart, so there. :)

  27. Wee Hamish says:

    Tristan brought a lot of credibility back to this magazine. It just seems like everyone involved in Salient this year enjoyed being part of the process, and it showed in the quality of articles produced.

    Without sounding too much like a “Let’s all have a hug, Cosby family!” Scotsman here, I think everyone involved in Salient this year should be proud of their efforts, because there was a shitload of work to do to make up for last year.

  28. Sam says:

    Amen brother.

  29. We got third over all.

    Seonah got 3rd in Best News Writer, paid
    Jenna got 3rd in Best Feature

    Best News writer, unpaid was never annouced… so we don’t know if Sarah won. But we’ll claim she did till someone tells us otherwise.

    The rest of the evening is but a haze. I do remember calling Tristan from a pay phone at abour 2:30 am and screaming at his voicemail.

    Hamilton is scary. People looked at us weird.

    I am home because I flew back. I couldn’t stand being in a van with a bunch of losers (TRICKS! I love you all. May next years team do better than us!)

  30. Brunswick says:

    Wasn’t there a cartoon category this year?

  31. Jackson Wood says:

    Oh yeah… Robbie got 3rd equal! YAY!

  32. Brunswick says:

    Good for Robbie. Interesting to see the belated criticism of last year’s Salient. It was honestly a life-altering experience for me, and one that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Few people realise the sheer effort of will it took me to walk back into that office six months later.

    So… um… did anyone actually win anything this year?

  33. Uther Dean says:

    It really should be noted, and not just ’cause Grant’s here (well, I *assume* that, that’s Grant), that while last year’s Salient was rather dire that allowed some elements to really pop out quality-wise. For me those were Eleanor’s theatre pages and Grant’s design. So, go them!

  34. And the news eh? Eh?

  35. Michael Oliver says:

    While I truly thought this year would be Salient’s year, the standard across the ASPA plain was extremely high, I felt. Those who got places should be proud of their efforts and the acknowledgements they received. The last thing anyone can say about Salient this year was that the standard of copy produced was below par – everyone worked their asses off.

    Despite perhaps not getting the kudos that effort deserved, this was a great year for Salient and everyone involved.

  36. Eleanor Bishop says:

    Wow someone read the theatre pages last year. Thanks Uther!

    The news popped with zing last year Laura.

    Hard luck for the ASPAs Salient crew. However, I felt the magazine was great this year. I read it cover to cover, which I certainly didn’t do last year, despite being more involved then.

  37. Uther Dean says:

    Hear hear.

  38. Shall we take a vote on why last year’s sucked so much?
    Your options:
    a) Steve Nicoll
    b) Other: please explain

    I choose a)

  39. Electrum Stardust says:

    One thing Salient never seems to lack is very competent News Editors. Last year’s coverage of the VUWSA elections was almost epic (though, in hindsight, the “A-Team” deserved some respect for having the courage of conviction, and mostly sticking to the issues).

    This year’s mix of serious and light-hearted articles has worked well, including the Features combination of Tania/Jenna.

    Rather ironically, last year’s Salient contained one of the most insightful pieces (especially topical):

  40. Peter Manglethwaite says:


    Steve wouldn’t publish a piece I wrote about coprophilia…. oh wait… I got it wrong. Can I please change my answer to A

  41. Mike says:

    for those of us who missed the whole shebang, but have a vested interest, does anyone out there have a list of winners?

  42. Jackson Wood says:

    Not yet mate. I’ll email Rory MacKinnon the 2008 ASPA president now for it and post it up here when he replies.

  43. Mike says:

    Thanx. that would be awesome.

  44. Chris says:

    Electrum Stardust – are you kidding? Last year’s coverage of the VUWSA elections was hopelessly one-sided and biaised. An article I wrote which was vageuly supportive of the A-Team was rejected, whilst the news pages that week carried inaccurate article after article damning the A-Team, interviews and articles by VUWSA permanent staff which criticised the A-Team, and lots of mocking of A-Team candidates.

    Only the most hopelessly one-sided or biaised person could think Salient gave the A-team a fair run last election.

  45. Chris says:

    I should add that the week in question was VOTING week, which makes it even worse.

  46. Gibbon says:

    Steve Nicoll was pretty much the reason.

  47. Electrum Stardust says:

    As a reader, I am more than happy to see a publication adopt its own stance, as long as it is genuinely held, i.e. not unduly influenced by governmental, corporate, or other powers.

    This is especially admirable when the magazine stands up against a powerful, mainstream, political party or its adjunct, and say “Oh no you don’t!” While it is perhaps not practicable to ban students from associating with such powers, I suppose the least we can do is to require all student ‘politicians’ to declare any such affiliations, and for the media to scrutinise them in any way it deems fit.

    I sincerely hope that New Zealand politics (generally) do not go down the path of the US (or other countries), and NZers should really cherish what you guys have – a relatively clean, egalitarian, and rather charming way of doing things.

    As can be seen in this year’s VUWSA elections, all the mainstream parties are too ready to ‘flip-flop’ and sacrifice principles. Independents and non-politically obssessed students should have a larger say in how student life is organised, and should not be the easy targets of political manoeuvering. If there must be “parties” in “student politics”, those of the nobler kind should be encouraged, along the lines of, say, Party for the Animals (Netherlands), Pirate Party (Sweden), Official Monster Raving Loony Party (UK), or the Beggars Sect.

    P.S. I do agree that more stringent controls be put in place with regards to what happens DURING Voting Week – which, by the way, is too long (and prone to unfair electioneering).

    P.P.S. This year’s VUWSA elections may well be decided by turnout. There might be some surprises in store.

  48. Brunswick says:

    Thanks Uther, I think that’s the only nice thing anyone’s said about my Salient design on this site.
    I’d still like the last 20 months of my life back, though.

  49. Chris says:

    I have no idea what the fuck Electrum is talking about.

    Brunswick – why 20 months? Weren’t you only at Salient for… 7 months at best?

  50. Brunswick says:

    The effect lingers.

  51. Oliver Went says:

    Dear Chris Bishop, Nick Kelly and Nick Archer,

    Could you please stop hanging around this university like a miasmal mist of smell that pervades the olfactory senses till one feels faint. No offence to any of you, but there is something really sad about the way you think your opinions matter to the students who attend Victoria.

    You have all had your time in the sun. Now it is time for you all to gracefully exit the stage.

  52. Chris says:

    Dear Oliver Went

    Sadly for you, I have never had my moment in the sun at Victoria. Secondly, I’m actually still a student here. Thirdly, I’ve never really thought my opinions matter to anyone – people either agree or not.

  53. Wee Hamish says:

    And what of I, Wee Hamish, who did not stop crying from Aberdeen to Auckland? Doth thou forbid thee from squatting in this fine piece of online real estate?


  54. Tom M says:

    “If there must be “parties” in “student politics”, those of the nobler kind should be encouraged, along the lines of, say, Party for the Animals (Netherlands), Pirate Party (Sweden), Official Monster Raving Loony Party (UK), or the Beggars Sect.”

    If by “noble” you mean “parties that would throw away student money” then yes, that would be very noble.

    “a relatively clean, egalitarian, and rather charming way of doing things.”
    Why, how quaint and naive we are.

  55. Wee Hamish says:


  56. Shitkicker McGee says:

    Go to sleep Hamish!

  57. “I think everyone involved in Salient this year should be proud of their efforts”

    Couldn’t agree more. I don’t know how closely you guys follow the other publications, but everyone has lifted their game this year and the Big Three has been pretty much broken. You can be proud not only of your individual efforts, but that you have a culture of involvement with the magazine and a readership that is passionate in its response. Sounds wanky, I know, but there are a whole bunch of small publications out there (like mine) which covet your situation. So congrats.

    I’m trying – and failing dismally – to put together a clever press release, but in any case I’ll send out the full list of winners today. As for Best Unpaid News, I’m afraid our judge has been insanely busy lately (if you saw the Weekend Herald’s ‘one-man-poll’, you’ll understand why), and is going to get back with a final result sometime this week. Good luck, Sarah!

  58. Superior Mind says:

    Speaking as a regular stain on the letters pages and some other pages too sometimes, this year’s Salient has been briliant. The informative writings, the twisted humour, the fact that the editor’s not a cunt like Steve was last year etc. has all added up to a thouroughly enjoyable magazine so my thanks to all involved.

    Also; I was unaware that Massey’s magazine was named after an X-Men character. That’s kind of cool.

  59. anika moa's new girlfriend says:

    I’m with Superior Mind, Salient has been pretty good this year. Pretty impressive actually. I’m surprised that you guys didn’t win more actually.

  60. Jenna Powell says:

    I said this on the night but I’ll say it again here. I think it speaks volumes of Salient and especially Tristan that Salient got no first placings but somehow still got third best publication. It basically means as a team we rule and we have a pretty strong (albeit somewhat strange and dragon obsessed) publication. so yay for us. I am really stoked with the third place (both mine and salients).

    Plus just quietly it was good to see a number of the small publications kick arse- especially Massey Palmy. They basically dominated in all the little but equally important categories.

  61. I can’t help but feel that we lost out on awards because we were simply too weird for the judges. The editorial in Issue 1 was a kind of manifesto, mixing unashamed academic wankery with esoteric pop-culture-referencing humour. We continued in this vein throughout the year.

    The judges in all categories showed a preference for short, snappy, accessible pieces, and rejected complex, difficult, academic pieces requiring several readings. This clearly cost Tania, Haimona and Matt any chance of a placing, since their work (in features, film and Victorian Theses column) is very demanding on the reader, as they presume their audience are already informed about the basics. There’s nothing wrong with the judges choosing accessible over demanding (and I’m not trying to dispute their choices since the quality of student journalism has increased throughout NZ and the winners are all deserving), it’s just a difference of perspective, and I don’t repent making Salient difficult, even if it cost us at the ASPAs. I guess my preference for difficult pieces delving into context, rather than snappy pieces explaining the basics clearly, is why I belong in academia not journalism.

    That said, I totally agree that Critic and its editor David Large deserved best publication and editorial, and salute the judges for making the right call. When they ran a feature on the decline of the Listener halfway through the year, I realised that Critic under Large has taken the Listener’s place as the best serious current affairs magazine in New Zealand. Hopefully Large’s successor will keep them strong. Also congrats to James Squires of Canta for taking out the top cartoonist spot – I’ve been reading Canta for years solely for Squires’ Fishing for Orphans, it’s amazing.

    And congrats to Jenna, Seonah and Robbie for your third placings, and to everyone involved (especially Tania who broke the story) in covering the proposed Film School closure, for our second placing for Best Educational Series. Also that road trip to Hamilton in the VUWSA van rocked.

  62. Matthew_Cunningham says:

    Awards or no awards, you guys did a great job this year. The depth and focus of the articles written was fantastic and of a high calibre.

    I specifically use the word calibre to invoke James Bond-esque visions of gunfights and explosions and all round badassery. Because you guys are that cool!

  63. Laura McQuillan says:

    This makes me want to sing.

    Love love love!

  64. Jenna Powell says:

    Jenna Powell… Not sure, maybe its like best feature series about education of something… but she’s coming up in the van with us tomorrow, so she better win or I’ll kick her in the shins.

    Best feature Writer…third place…
    You still gonna kick me in the shins?

  65. Jackson Wood says:

    Ummmm… perhaps. Depends on what mood I am in when I see you next. I’m fully gutted you wouldn’t let me snuggle with you and Tony and that I had to snuggle with Tristan instead.

  66. Jackson Wood says:

    But in all seriousness: Salient fucking rocks my socks and I am glad to have been a part of the team this year. I can’t wait till we have a 25 year reunuion and we’ve either all sold out to corporate media, are in late stages of liver cirrhosis, or perhaps D status NZ celebs.

  67. Annoy Mouse says:

    I was a little relieved not to have won, for to be given an award by the judges who I hold such contempt for (the quality of journalism and journalists in this country is abysmal) would be amusing but meaningless to me.

    Maybe Tristan is right and some of us (Dr Manglethwaite and Myself especially) are just to weird for the philistines, but to quote hedonism bot “I apologize for nothing”

  68. Matty Smith says:

    Maybe Tristan is right and some of us (Dr Manglethwaite and Myself especially) are just to weird for the philistines, but to quote hedonism bot “I apologize for nothing”

    Here’s an alternate theory: You needed an extra letter ‘o’.

  69. Annoy Mouse says:

    and by oh he means ‘oh… fuck off’

  70. Jackson Wood says:

    and by “oh… fuck off” he means “could you go ahead and bring me a packet of biscuits. Yeeeeeaaaaaaah that would be great.”

  71. Michael Oliver says:

    *twenty minute drum solo for NO FUCKING REASON*

  72. Lynyrd Skynyrd says:


  73. UPDATE: Congratulations, Sarah! You’re the best reporter in New Zealand that hasn’t received any kind of financial compensation for their work!

    And congratulations to J. Wood, although I’m surprised this isn’t all over the blogs already…

  74. Laura McQuillan says:

    Awesome work Sarah! Been a while since Salient took that award!

  75. Michael Oliver says:

    Fuck yeah, we won something! Congrats, Sarah.

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