Salient put on a respectable showing at last weekend’s Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA) awards, winning four awards but failing to wrest the best publication prize from Otago’s Critic.
Feature writer Nicholas Holm was awarded first place in the best humour writer category, and responded to audience taunts to tell a joke by saying “Craccum: best publication” at the ceremony. He later apologised. “It’s an odd feeling to be officially funny,” he says.
Ben Fraser, Salient Designer, was placed first equal in the design category, finally ending a Salient drought in the category. Reluctant to give a quote, after being hounded he admitted he was “happy with first equal”.
Salient also won the feature content and education series categories. “Oh, you know, just something pretty to put on the mantle piece,” says editor James Robinson.
Newswriter Laura McQuillan and Music co-Editor Beatrice Turner were both placed second in the volunteer news writing and review categories respectively. Salient also received two third placings, in the best editorial and best paid news writer categories.
However, Salient narrowly missed out on the top spot in the best publication category, with Critic winning for a second year in a row.
Best publication judge Michael Appleton found it hard to judge between Salient and Critic. “All new student magazine editors would do well to take a good look at this year’s Critic and Salient and learn what made them a cut above the rest,” he says.
Another judge, Olivia Kember, who previously worked for the canned youth news programme Flipside, says Salient “strikes me as somewhat self-important. There is a lack of humour and also of humility. Laugh at yourselves a bit more. It’ll make you more attractive.” A Google search also reveals that Kember occasionally works for Sunday magazine.
Critic Editor John Ong says he “always knew we were better than Salient at karaoke, but it turns out we might be better at print journalism in the eyes of TV reporters.”
However, Robinson is proud of his team. “I think we did very well. The results reflect the continuing strength of the student media, and the fact that Critic won with a Chinese editor is evidence of a growing Chinese conspiracy in this country,” he says.
Ong’s response to the accusation of a Chinese conspiracy was cagey. “Obviously I’d have to deny that. I might get into trouble for saying something.”
Salient would like to thank The Listener for their generous sponsorship of the awards.