Editorial: Week 4, Semester 2

The modern day Honi is — for better or worse — a far more serious affair than back in the irreverant ‘heyday’ of the 90s.

Art by Claire Ollivian

Laying up online is a bad experience and it makes me incredibly sad. Although I do feel a lot healthier since we’ve been banned from the office. 

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the library’s digital Honi archive. The modern day Honi is — for better or worse — a far more serious affair than back in the irreverant ‘heyday’ of the 90s. The paper of that era relied on satire, regularly pushing the boundaries of acceptability. A front page splash from 1995 making light of a girl’s death from an ecstacy overdose, for example. By contrast, the contemporary Honi — at least since 2016 — has generally sought to replicate the design and breadth of professional papers.  Whereas the paper of 20-30 years ago contained almost no news, so far this year we have published over 200 news articles, and tickets since 2016 have been similar. Such a change in attitude should not surprise — being a student in the 2020s is a far more serious affair than being a student in 1995. In his editorial for the last edition of that year, Charles Firth wrote that “1995 has been a small year…nothing much at all has happened.” Though Holly Hughes (page 17) would dispute this.  I imagine Honi editors of that year spending afternoons at Manning, and evenings at nearby venues such as the Phoenician Club (page 11), enjoying (a) the freedom to leave their homes, and (b) some form of vibrancy around campus.

Claire’s article about Wilson Street (page 10) brings back memories of the mythic old uni life — an illegal bar in an anarchist squat — and the present reality: a New Year’s Eve spent in the rain at Carriageworks, all venues closed by the pandemic.

Instead of strolling around uni, wasting time in Schaeffer and Hermann’s, I’ve been spending my time On Twitter, taking screenshots and staring at myself on Zoom (all page 16). 

Unfortunately, 2021 has not been “a small year.” Besides the pandemic, this year’s Honi news has seen relentless job cuts and department closures across the country, revelations of the University spying on its own staff and students, and attacks on student unions, with our Minister threatening to defund ‘political’ unions.

As aspiring editors release their idealistic policy proposals (page 8), it is clear that Honi will continue on its path towards professionalism. Radical, for sure, but more sincere and serious than irreverent. 

Thankyou to Vivienne for reading about cephalopods over Zoom to Deaundre, Claire and I while I write this. 

 Firth finished his editorial by saying “I hope next year is more momentous.” I hope not. I just want to go back to The Royal with everyone.