According to the historian Steven Spielberg, Abraham Lincoln once bellowed: “I am the President of the United States of America, clothed in immense power! You will procure me those votes!”
We can relate. While not quite POTUS, Honi is still kind of a big deal, at least at Sydney Uni. We have something bordering on immense power: we are the only media outlet with the capacity and the will to cover student issues in depth. This is especially stark now, in election season, when we are essentially the sole voice talking about the candidates apart from the sweet sixteen themselves. That brings us to the question: what should we say?
We wrote in our O-Week edition that objectivity is dead. We stand by that. Our election coverage isn’t all that balanced – but we don’t think it should be. Our responsibility is not to be objective, but to be fair. Fairness involves acknowledging that some candidates are far better than others, calling out those who aren’t competent or serious, and acknowledging those who are qualified. We’re harsher on some than others in this issue, and that’s why. Someone with little knowledge of the USU or weak policies or a repugnant character should not get the same treatment as an experienced candidate with integrity.
Our coverage therefore involved us making some judgment calls that went beyond spouting out what the candidates’ policies are.
We wrote in our Week 2 edition that we would cover local issues in depth. In the past fortnight we’ve been not just editors, but writers, researchers, interviewers, quizmasters and quiz invigilators for 16 candidates. The result is a set of video interviews, a four-page election extravaganza (starting on page 10), as well as another extravaganza in The Soin. It means that our judgment on candidates was only reached after a bunch of research, and it means there’s enough material out there for you to disagree with us. We know that a few of our readers will resent us for spending so much space on an election they don’t care about, but it’s our responsibility, and our pleasure, to bring detailed coverage to those who do give a shit, so we make no apologies.
If you don’t care for elections, maybe consider avoiding campus for the next week and a bit. But take this Honi home with you, because there is some cool stuff inside: Lachlan Munro discusses drug legalisation (page 6), Ada Lee defends pranking Tharunka (page 7) and Alex Christie debates ejaculating on people’s faces (page 9).
We know that we are in a position of power. Nobody edits the editors.* But we think we’ve used our power well when we bring you coverage that is both detailed and fair.
Also, I’ve been waiting a long time to say this and it feels good: the H at the front of Honi is silent. It’s French, you fools.
*Except the SRC President and Directors of Student Publications, who take out the legally iffy stuff.