David Leach: Martlet 70th Anniversary Article

Alumni Testimonials

As part of the Martlet 70 Fundraiser, we’ve asked former Martlet staff to answer an important question: why do we need the Martlet?

Martlet 70th Anniversary Article
By David Leach

“Ask not what the Martlet can do for you, but what you can do for the Martlet…”
That wasn’t exactly my philosophy when I began writing for UVic’s student newspaper,
nearly 30 years ago. As an arts reporter, I was mostly looking to snag comp tickets to shows, a
steady supply of free books, and a regular byline to tickle my vanity and burnish my CV.
My short reviews and previews felt like a frill in a publication that ran investigations and
op-eds about political scandals and environmental issues. Did anyone really care what some
freshman wannabe Margaret Atwood thought about the latest show at the Phoenix Theatre or
a slim volume of verse from an indie press?

It turns out people did. The Arts section of the Martlet provided both a window to
observe and a door to enter the cultural communities of Victoria. We were still examining vital
issues, just through the lenses of poetry or theatre or music or dance. Our articles helped to
amplify these voices.

Today, as local arts coverage recedes at a glacial pace (i.e., fast) in both the legacy media
and alternative press, the Martlet maintains its commitment to smart, funny, informed critical
writing about cultural activities in Victoria and across Canada. It remains an open place where
student writers and young artists can feel connected, often for the first time, to the greater ebb
and flow of the ocean of creativity that surrounds us all.

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