Sunday, July 01, 2007

SL has a new Editor!!!!!!!

Ok, I know this is a week late and that I haven't blogged in AGES!! AGAIN!

I saw that SL has a new editor and, because her editorial was, to be frank, disgustingly short and left certain key questions unanswered I have decided to post an open letter to her on here which I have sent off to her as well- Stay tuned for a response, if I get any.

Dear Louise

I know this is a bit late but congratulations on your appointment as the new editor of SL.

I have been reading the mag on and off for about the last 7 years and I have watched it grow, morph and, in my mind, degenerate.

When I heard that SL was getting a new editor I was thought "excellent, maybe now we are going to finally see a revamp of the magazine!" So I trundled over to the local news agent and bought myself your first was, disappointingly, the same as always but I was willing to let that slide. I mean, after all, it was your first edition and hey, since magazines usually work a month in advance (or should) it was probably a hangover from the Dixon administration.

Now, if you are still reading, maybe its because I am studying Journalism that I my comments may be seen to be over-critical but as they say in the classics "wait there is more more!"

I know that the nature of magazines is that they are aspirational- ie: Their content is aimed at a target audience but that audience does not see themselves in the magazine, rather the content is about successful, beautiful people a few years older than the reader.

This is all well and good if you take into account that a lot of high school learners read the mag- I mean, there were still students in the vox pops for example and these learners were all aspiring to go to varsity one day etc and be just like those Wits and UJ students/models you always seem to have in there.

But lately this has changed...

All of a sudden we don't have current students but ones who have graduated. Ones with jobs, ones who haven't been students for years ie: people who I can hardly relate to (I plan on studying for a while longer after my honours) and I am sure high school learners cant at all!

I never knew the "underground", counter-culture, out-of-the-mainstream versions of SL- those were a bit before my time. That ethos of being different from all the other consumerist magazines on the market has been lost to the bottom line of the balance sheet now, such is life I suppose.

I suppose my question to you is really "who are you and why are you here" seeing as you didn't answer any of those questions in your first editorial! What do you intend to do with the position you have been placed in? Will the magazine stay the same? Become worse (more consumerist) or better (more about students).

Having said this, I suppose that students are consumers and that you are catering to that gap in the market....if you read SL with this in mind it does that rather well.

But can it hurt to see vox pops from "normal" students at varsities other than UJ and Wits?
Can it hurt to have campus reporters at each varsity writing about....well...student life?

Is it a crime to want to be able to "see myself" in the content SL churns out? The theory that this kind of interaction with media is only reserved for community newspapers is bollocks in my mind.

A balance needs to be struck between the consumerist (money making side) of SL and giving what the audience, which ostentatiously is made up of students, not only content they WANT but also content they NEED! I understand that you need to make money in order to put this mag out but don't forget, you also need an audience to read the thing...don't forget them!

I hope you appreciate the responsibility of what being an editor means and that you can stand up to your publisher if you want to change anything about the magazine.

I will be watching.

Good luck and kind regards.

Peter Barlow

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