Editorial – The Meaning of a Magazine

Lately I’ve been looking at other student publications and considering the similarities and differences between them and The Voice Magazine. One of the things that struck me was simply the amount of content that they manage to get each week, often from unpaid, volunteer writers. Now, The Voice Magazine is not exactly a slouch in this department, as, at 29 pages, this issue is larger than either the U of C’s The Gauntlet, or U of A’s most recently archived issue of The Gateway. But even with a higher page count, we’re still slightly behind them in terms of different pieces of content, and far behind them on pieces that relate directly to AU student issues.

However, when I started looking at the content of each of these more carefully I saw that a large portion of what you’ll see at either of those papers is content that is local to their campus or specific region. Or sports team. And unless a student or somebody at AU decides to start up a pro-videogaming league (don’t laugh too quickly, the most recent “DOTA” videogame championships had a prize pool of over ten million dollars) these are things that It’s simply impossible for The Voice to cover. I’ll admit, the thought that I won’t, at some point, be able to equal what those papers are doing was a bit depressing.

But then I had an epiphany of sorts, where I realized that I had forgot that The Voice Magazine isn’t a student newspaper. It says so right in the title. It’s a magazine. And that implies a different set of standards and a different goal than student newspapers. As a magazine, we need to concentrate not on just looking at what’s happening today, or tomorrow, the news per se, but rather on trying to dig deeper and get to the meaning of these issues. That we have more pages but less individual pieces of content then other student newspapers is perfectly appropriate for a magazine. The Voice Magazine will never be a better student newspaper than The Gauntlet, The Manitoban, or whatever other student newspapers are out there. With AU students being so vastly different, in ages, locations, career and life experience, we simply don’t have enough common ground for the typical type of coverage you’ll find in a student newspaper to be relevant to all of us.

But stories that deal with larger issues, of life, of balancing career and studying, of optimism and isolation, stories that explore those issues are the things that can resonate with any AU student. And I’m hopeful that those are the type of articles I’ll be able to bring you as we continue forward.

This week, for example, our own Barb Godin comes out from behind the advice desk and writes about an issue that many of us have had to deal with. What do you do when someone desperately needs help but refuses to take any, or even see the need? We also have articles looking at what’s right about November, another instalment of The Travelling Student, and, not least by any means, our feature interview with fellow AU student Barry Wheeler in the latest Minds We Meet.

Plus, our regular assortment of columns on technology, writing, studying, film and music, and of course general advice. Plus this week, we not only have a Council Connection, but an interview with AUSU President Jason Nixon about how AUSU is going to continue moving forward after the recent staffing changes.

Enjoy the read!