CAMPUS AND CULTURE
Gazette Alumni speak
A story behind the stories
History in print
The UBC prank: breaking and entering
Champagne with an old friend
From Pam to Parliament Hill and beyond
Tories, snow and free beer
An anti-country club
A story behind the stories
Then: a twinkle in his parent's eyes
Now: Editor-in-Chief at The Gazette
I often think of Mike Martin.
Of all the stories from The Gazette's past, it is his which comes to mind most often when I find myself lost and confused by the paradox-filled world of the daily student newspaper.
Talk to some of the hundreds of people who have passed through this office and you will be bombarded by tales of late nights, drunken revelry, fights with the University Students' Council, financial crises and other debauchery.
Countless editors, writers, photographers and others have spent immeasurable numbers of hours doing everything humanly possible to ensure the student body received the best student newspaper in Canada.
It is without a doubt, in my mind, that I say they have accomplished that goal and then some.
But as we reflect on 95 years of the best student journalism in Canada, certain stories deserve specific attention.
Mike Martin's story is one of those tales.
As Editor-in-Chief during the 1989-1990 publishing year, Martin made what must have at the time seemed to be a pretty innocent suggestion. At lunch with the managers of the composing and advertising departments, Martin attempted to find a solution to the paper's troubled situation.
At the time, The Gazette published twice a week but due to high advertising content the two papers were running in the neighborhood of 36 pages each. Without getting into too much newspaper-speak, producing two 36 page papers was proving too taxing on the already over-worked staff.
Martin's solution daily publication.
Driven by ambition, curiosity and pride, the wheels were set in motion for The Gazette to become the country's only daily student newspaper.
Two years later, under the creative leadership of Scott Feschuk, The Gazette officially began publishing four times a week Tuesday through Friday.
But few, even within the walls of The Gazette, knew what Paul Harvey would call "the rest of the story."
Throughout his year at the helm, Martin appeared to many to have been suffering a prolonged bout with the flu. All concerned health inquiries were met with a shrug and a "don't worry about it."
Two years later, Martin passed away after a battle with cystic fibrosis. He lived just long enough to see his "daily" dream become reality.
The Gazette's history is filled with tales of sacrifice and selflessness. Every editor and every volunteer must set aside personal (and, at times, academic) goals in order to make this paper a reality, but few have so remarkably set aside their own concerns to make The Gazette a better paper for the students of this university.
If Martin was half as humble as I have been led to believe, he probably wouldn't even think so highly of his story being the subject of a column, but some stories can never be repeated too often.
But, every once in awhile, both The Gazette staff and the student body need a reminder of why this paper exists and why this paper is the best in the country.
It is because of people like Mike Martin that this paper has become the institution it now is and it is the stories of people like Mike Martin which continually remind me why I love this paper.