Speech on The College Magazine

Outline:

  • What is a college magazine: distinction with a public magazine
  • How it is organized and financed
  • Leading features
  • Importance and utility
  • How to make it pay maximum dividends
  • Conclusion

The college magazine is a kind of journal, published periodically or annually by and for the students of any college. It bears similarity with a public journal in containing poems, stories, essays and other materials of general interest. But there is yet a sharp difference between the two. A public magazine is a commercial enterprise, undertaken with an eye to the making of profit. Its materials are, therefore, selected to satisfy the variegated taste of its readers. But a college magazine is a noncommercial, academic publication devoted’ to the encouragement of cultural activities among the students of a particular college. Hence its materials, though apparently similar in form, are largely different from those of a public magazine. Thus a gross love poem may find an easy place in a public journal but not in a college magazine. The academic and extra-academic activities and achievements of a college, its aims and difficulties feature prominently in its magazine while no public magazine would have anything to do with such things. Hardly one would come across a public magazine which, directly or circuitously, does not support or oppose a cause or a view, whether political, economic or cultural. But a college magazine stands absolutely on a detached ground, with no views or comments to offer. In short, a college magazine and a public magazine are akin only in name and form but radically different in spirit, approach, and purpose.

The college magazine is, as it should be, organized and managed by the students with the co-operation and guidance of the Professors. It is one of the important functions of the College Union. Its publication is financed from the funds at the Union’s disposal’. A departmental secretary, aided by his assistants, carries on all works from the beginning to the end, while the selection of reading materials is done by a committee of students and teachers.

The college magazine offers a variety of features. The Principal usually writos a preface and the vice-president or the General Secretary of the Union contributes a detailed report on the various activities and achievements of the college. Important events, such as the visit of a celebrity or the college’s participation in a flood-relief operation, are published prominently. Some magazines also carry a digest of international news, that is, some of the recent events of international importance are given in graphic outlines. Other features may include a couple of group photographs, some works of art by students and a few lines of jest and humor. The remaining pages–usually divided into three blocks, English, Bengali, and Urdu–are devoted to the publication of poems, stories, and essays. One of its attractive features is a large number of quotations from reputed authors and thinkers, which many readers are found to get by heart. Contributors are usually students and teachers of the college but may also include eminent ex-students.

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The importance of college magazine in any practical scheme of education can never be ignored. It is, in effect, one of those elements which go to make higher education perfect and creative. The magazine encourages the students to read and know things beyond their academic syllabuses. It stimulates their power of thinking independently, provides a medium for self-expression and creates in them a taste for are and beauty. Many reputed authors of our age received their basic training in artistic production through the college magazine. The spirit of the competition promoted by it proves a great incentive to the quest of knowledge. The college magazine also affects a wide exchange and dissemination of knowledge, much of which is missed in the classroom. Last but not least, it fosters a healthy spirit of corporate life among the students, brings about a cordial relation between them and the teachers and serves to focus the attention of all concerned on the institution’s achievements and failures, thus giving them both inspiration and caution.

In order to make the college magazine pay proper dividends, certain requisites have to be provided for. Firstly, instead of calling upon the students abruptly to send in their contributions, the ground should be prepared for several months before a magazine is published. This may be done by organizing monthly wall-papers, one for each class, and by holding occasional competitions in poems, stories, and essays. Thus a large group of writers will grow in the college and the products of these experienced and trained hands will be worthy of consideration for publication in the magazine.

Secondly, contributions from the students, even though below the mark, should always get preference to those of the Professors, a very few of which may be accommodated only to serve as models. To pack up a magazine with Iearned articles from the teachers in order to raise its standard, as is done at times, is to defeat the very underlying purpose of the collcge magazine. Thirdly, more space should be devoted to essays than the rest taken together and articles born of the author’s observation and experience as also those having academic utility should be preferred.

In fine, it is a pity that many of our colleges bring out a nominal magazine once in a year, mostly due to their pecuniary difficulties. More attention needs to be paid to this essential aspect of college life. Any college worth the name should publish at least two issues of the magazine in one session. To remove their economic handicaps, the Government should extend them liberal financial assistance”.

The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.

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