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September 27, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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ASPA. Say it out loud. Asssss-paaaa. It’s got a nice ring to it. What is this ASPA I speak of? For the uninitiated—which is no doubt the vast majority of you—ASPA is the Aotearoa Student Press Association. It’s pretty much awesomeness in a can.

Each and every student magazine in New Zealand, from Craccum at Auckland Uni to Critic down there in Dunedin, is a member of ASPA. Birthed back in the early ‘90s, the purpose of ASPA has changed very little in the intervening decade or so—we exist to share news, content, ideas and features, not to mention get drunk and swap war stories and a bit of spit from time to time.

For editors, ASPA is like one giant shoulder to cry on—there’s always someone to bitch to over Gmail chat (or if things are really bad, over the phone) when features fall through, when advertising managers conveniently forget to tell you something on deadlines day, when student presidents don’t get their columns in on time, or when the mainstream media spotlight is shining down on your magazine’s sorry little ass.

Does ASPA have superpowers? Not quite, but we sure do try our hardest to report on the stuff that you—students—should care about. We’ve seen a heck of a lot of changes in the tertiary education sector this year, and magazines like Salient and Critic have been at the forefront of a lot of this coverage. That’s right, we’ve been scooping the Dominion Post and the Otago Daily Times on everything from the closure of enrolments to the closure of Gardies.

It doesn’t look like we’re going to be running out of stories any time soon, with VSM on the horizon, and universities taking more drastic steps to balance their budgets and make ends meet. These are issues that will undoubtedly have a significant impact on students at every single university across the country. And this is where the power of ASPA lies—in our ability to work as a collective to report on student issues for a student audience.

Ultimately though, for ASPA to be the properly functioning media beast it can be, it requires the cooperation and participation of all student magazines. Why copy and paste a press release or a story from a mainstream media outlet when you have 12 other student magazines with a whole host of interesting news stories that actually matter to students just an email away?

You, too, have a part to play—keep reading the magazine you’re holding in your hands. Care about what’s happening at your students’ association and at your university. Heck, come in and volunteer and write for us! Our ongoing existence relies on your support—if you stop caring, you’ll have to look for an alternative source of entertainment to get through your Monday morning lectures.

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About the Author ()

Editor for 2010, politics nerd, panda fan and three-time award-winning student journalist.

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