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Critic (magazine)

Critic2012 Logo Black.pdf
EditorJoel MacManus
CategoriesStudent Magazine
FrequencyWeekly - 26 × yearly
Circulation5,000 (20,000 readers)
PublisherPlanet Media Dunedin Ltd.
Year founded1925
CompanyOtago University Students' Association (OUSA)
CountryNew Zealand
Based inDunedin, Otago
OCLC number173348156

Critic is the official magazine of the Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) of the University of Otago. It is freely available around both the university's campus and selected sites in Dunedin city weekly during term time. Critic is New Zealand's longest-running student newspaper, having been established in 1925. Weekly circulation is 5,000 copies, with an estimated readership of approximately 20,000.


Critic's content is primarily targeted to cater for its student demographic and often examines provocative, controversial, taboo and arguably offensive subject matter. Traditionally, critic has had 'themed' issues such as "The Sex Issue" or "The Drugs Issue", however, recent years have seen a movement away from overtly stipulated themes. Although content varies year to year, generally the publication covers a wide variety of local, national and international news, sport and politics; as well as weekly features, columns, poetry, letters and photography.


The Office of Film and Literature Classification in 2006 banned an issue of the magazine, due to it containing a "how-to-guide" on drug rape.[1] Possession or distribution of this issue was deemed illegal.

In 2010 The Press Council upheld a complaint against Critic over the article 'The Bum at the Bottom of the World', which depicted three people the publication deemed homeless and vagrant.[2][3]

In 2013 Critic's Editor Callum Fredric received a $35,000 payout after a series of personal disputes with OUSA General Manager Darel Hall. Fredric was suspended by Hall on Friday 3 May, and was trespassed from OUSA buildings by Hall after attending a meeting on Monday 6 May to explain the situation to staff, before being asked to leave by Police. After filing legal proceedings, Fredric accepted a $35,000 settlement package from OUSA on Friday 17 May, and resigned as Editor.[4][5][6]

In 2018 Issue 12 featured a carton image of a woman menstruating. The University of Otago Proctor Dave Scott took offence to the image and unilaterally decided to destroy all copies of the magazine.[7]


The publication was tabloid in size until 2002, when it went quarterfold (around A4 size). The design of critic is often significantly changed each year as new designers are employed. In 2011 Critic's Art Director, Andrew Jacombs, had the covers of Critic displayed in the 2012 Coverjunkie "Best Of" Publication, alongside some of the world's most leading titles, such as TIME, Esquire, The New Yorker, Vogue, Sports Illustrated and lift-outs from the New York Times and United Kingdom weekly The Sunday Times.[8][9]

Awards and nominations

Critic is a member of the Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA), and was awarded Best Publication in the annual ASPA awards in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013, 2017 and 2017.[10] In 2010 "Critic" won Best Publication, Best Editorial Writer, Best Paid News Reporter, Best Illustrator, and Best Series. The unanimous winner for 2010, Critic received the highest possible score from all judges and was praised for being "The only magazine this year that didn’t just ask the audience to notice how smart it was; instead, it went out and proved it by doing smart, creative, interesting things."[11] In 2011 Critic won Best Education Series, Best News Writer, Best Feature Writer and Best Feature.[12] In 2012 Critic won best publication best editorial, best series and best website.[13] In 2013 Critic won best publication, best design, best cover, best reviewer, best columnist and best sports writer.[10] In 2014 Critic won Best Publication, Best Design, Best Feature Illustration and Best Feature Writer (2014 Aotearoa Student Press Awards). In 2017 Critic won Best Publication, Dest Feature Writer, Best News Writer, Best Sports Writer, and Best Headline.


  1. ^ "Student drug-rape magazine banned". New Zealand Herald. 1 February 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  2. ^ "Case Number: 2144 OTAGO MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT TRUST AGAINST CRITIC-TE AROHI". New Zealand Press Council. October 2010. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Complaint over vagrant article in 'Critic' upheld". Otago Daily Times. 9 Nov 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  4. ^ "'Critic' Editor Steps Down". Otago Daily Times. Tue, 21 May 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Critic Editor Receives Payout". Salient. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  6. ^ "The Critic Payout". Kiwiblog. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  7. ^ []
  8. ^ "Critic: The End". 3 November 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Covers attention-grabbers". 16 January 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Excellence in student media recognised". Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Critic Magazine Wins Student Media AwardsCritic Magazine Wins Student Media Awards". Scoop. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Aotearoa Student Press Association Awards Results". Salient. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  13. ^ "'Critic' bags prizes at awards". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 1 October 2012.

External links