Editorial: Week 8, Semester 2
Our radically different perspectives have often stirred outrage from mainstream media, who are too ready to rush in and discipline as dissidents rather than engaging with our political message.
In the last week, Honi Soit has been subject to much scrutiny from a number of different sources. Famously uncontroversial Murdoch-owned media both nationally and internationally have accused us of being inappropriate and attention-seeking for its own sake. Fringe political groups on campus who are currently mounting campaigns for the SRC elections (make sure you vote by Wednesday!) have accused us of being insular, unrepresentative and irrelevant to the student body’s interests.
Well, one could argue that the sheer volume of discourse last week’s cover and editorial generated is proof enough that the latter is wrong.
Honi, like many other student publications across the country, has a proud legacy of providing a countercultural voice to those presented in mainstream media. In the last few weeks, we have also seen this with Semper Floreat’s ‘The Subtle Art of Shoplifting’ article, and On Dit’s ‘For Palestine, There Is No Ceasefire’, the latter of which was forcibly removed at the start of September. Our radically different perspectives have often stirred outrage from mainstream media, who are too ready to rush in and discipline as dissidents rather than engaging with our political message. On campus, regardless of your views, last week’s edition achieved its intended purpose – to open up discourse and encourage students to clarify their political positions. This has always been Honi’s role as a radical student newspaper. For more on this, see our editorial on page 5 in this week’s paper.
The theme of this week’s edition is NEWSWORTHY. Our reporters will know that editors-in-chief will set the edition’s theme two weeks in advance of its publication. I was thinking, at the time, about how a former PM labelled protesters as fascists for exercising their democratic rights to protest, and how mainstream media had been swift to echo his words. But the events of the last week are an excellent case study for exploring this theme. As both an Honi editor and a media student, I am continually fascinated by this concept of ‘newsworthiness’, which underpins so many decisions that journalists make in their reportage, yet remains woefully under-scrutinised.
For this edition, I wanted our reporters to unpack this concept and think critically about the agendas at play when considering these decisions; what agendas Honi should be platforming. As always, they have delivered incredible work. Eamonn Murphy and Andy Park wrote about the importance of contested elections for a functioning student democracy. Eva Sikes-Gerogiannis farewells a beloved local tavern in Newtown. And Fabian Robertson continues his investigation into the USyd Executive’s expenses.
In the feature, I explore the question of what a democratic media landscape looks like, and I look to student publications for potential solutions. I am forever indebted to the editors of Catalyst, On Dit, Tharunka, Vertigo, Semper Floreat, Farrago, Pelican and Woroni for their generous help and openness to sharing their insights. Working on this article was a real privilege, and it challenges me to reflect critically on my own media practice. With minds as deeply intelligent and talented as theirs, I’m optimistic about the future of our media landscape.
I hope the articles this week encourage contemplation, challenge your ways of thinking, and provide you the information to participate more fully in democratic society. This edition, when I envisioned it two weeks ago, is hopefully one that embodies all the features of a truly radical, truly democratic publication.