The February 26, 2014, front page of
|Owner(s)||University of Sydney Students' Representative Council|
|Editor||Georgia Behrens, Felix Donovan, John Gooding, Georgia Kriz, Andrew Passarello, Justin Pen, Astha Rajvanshi, Michael Rees, Lane Sainty, Christina White|
Honi Soit is the student newspaper of the University of Sydney, first published in 1929 and produced by an elected editorial team as part of the activities of the Students' Representative Council (SRC). The name is an abbreviation of the Anglo-Norman "Honi soit qui mal y pense" ("Shame upon him who thinks evil of it").
Format and organisation
Honi Soit is a tabloid-style publication incorporating a mixture of humorous and serious opinion articles. A typical issue contains a topical feature article and interview, letters to the editor, campus news, pop culture articles and news satire. Periodically, special editions are published, including Election Honi, devoted towards covering the annual Students' Representative Council (SRC) student elections, Women's Honi, and Queer Honi, dedicated to covering LGBT issues.
In 2010 and 2011, the last three pages of each issue were presented as part of fictional newspaper The Garter, which parodied numerous sections of The Sydney Morning Herald, including Column 8, and contains satirical and irreverent articles. In 2012, The Garter was discontinued in favour of more integrated satire and comedy; however, a similar section was reintroduced in 2013 called The Soin, parodying The Sun. The Soin gained notoriety after one article was mentioned on various blogs and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Issues are published weekly during university semesters. Honi Soit is the only student newspaper in Australia that remains a weekly publication. Its standard book size is 24 pages, but that is sometimes extended to 28 or 32 pages at the discretion of the editors and publisher.
The office of editor was originally filled by single appointment. Since the 1980s, editors are annually elected as a "ticket" of up to 10 students, in conjunction with the SRC elections.
In 2014, the editors are Georgia Behrens, Felix Donovan, John Gooding, Georgia Kriz, Andrew Passarello, Justin Pen, Astha Rajvanshi, Michael Rees, Lane Sainty, and Christina White.
The Art of Shoplifting controversy
In 1995, Honi Soit reprinted a controversial article from Rabelais Student Media, its La Trobe University counterpart, entitled "The Art of Shoplifting"—one of seven student newspapers to do so. Although the Rabelais editors responsible for the original article were prosecuted for ignoring a ban on publication issued by the state's Chief Censor; the editors of the other seven newspapers were not targeted by the authorities. Charges against the Rabelais editors were later dropped.
The St Michael's College hoax
On 11 August 2009, Honi Soit published a feature article, 'The Mystery of St Michael's' later uncovered as a hoax, which claimed a fire in 1992 at St Michael's College, a now derelict residential college adjacent to the University's Architecture building, had killed 16 students. It was implied that a cover-up by the Catholic Church had stifled widespread awareness of the tragedy, and that the site was now haunted by ghosts. The following week, the editors published a retraction, stating: '...after a particularly interesting week of deflecting queries from varying positions of authority... last week's 'Mystery of St Michael's' was an exercise in fictional storytelling. Thank you to everyone who played along or enjoyed.'
Vagina Soit controversy
In August 2013, the newspaper attracted controversy after printing a cover featuring photographs of 18 vulvae. The newspaper was pulled from stands within hours after the censoring of the images was not sufficient. This was due to the fact that black bars placed over certain parts of the vulvae were not completely opaque. The incident gained international media attention.
A statement by the female editors stated 'We are tired of society giving us a myriad of things to feel about our own bodies. We are tired of having to attach anxiety to our vaginas. We are tired of vaginas being either artificially sexualised (porn) or stigmatised (censorship and airbrushing). We are tired of being pressured to be sexual, and then being shamed for being sexual.'
- About Honi Soit on official website
- New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, OUP 2005, p 174
- FitzSimons, Peter. "No ire, it's satire". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- Honi Soit Past Editors since 1929 on official website
- "The Rabelais Case". Burning Issues. 1999-08-21. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
- The Mystery of St Michael's Honi Soit, 11 August 2009 p 12
- FYI (editorial) Honi Soit, 19 August 2009, p 3
- "Sydney University student newspaper Honi Soit pulled after placing vaginas on the cover". News AU.
- "Are vulvas so obscene that we have to censor them?". The Guardian.