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
Champagne with an old friend
Then: Deputy Editor 1999-2000
Now: Copy and Design Editor at The Globe and Mail
April 6, 2000. My last day as Deputy Editor of The Gazette, a paper known throughout the country as the only student daily, but known to me simply as home for the previous two years.
As I made what would be my last trek from the parking lot to Rm. 263 in the UCC, I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. The romantic in me said two years of 16-hour days and emotional strain had taken its toll, but in truth, the feeling probably had more to do with the four bottles of champagne in my backpack.
The day I had to say good-bye to that office and, more specifically, relinquish whatever hand I had in producing another volume of the best student paper in Canada, was one I had dreaded since my first.
Good-byes aren't one of my strengths. And even though I was going to see our staff, all of whom I had grown to love, again just two days later at our final dinner, it was time to say good-bye to the product, and the context in which I had learned more about journalism and myself, than any J-school could have taught me. I knew enough to come prepared.
The day itself was uncharacteristically calm. The incessant ringing of phones and the air of controlled chaos we were all so used to was noticeably absent.
Our staff, usually driven by deadline, was more concerned with taking things slowly, enjoying the little day-to-day, annoying duties they had so often cursed, but knew they would wake up tomorrow and miss. When they finished their work, even with exams looming, most loitered for a few minutes, or hours, laughing, cleaning out desks, signing our now-famous wall. Everywhere I looked, I was reminded of how much talent surrounded me and how lucky I was to meet and work with such dedicated people.
When the night got on, everyone started filtering out to The Spoke for a congratulatory beer.
I was left with my two co-editors to put the finishing touches on the last paper of Volume 93. There was an unspoken understanding that deadline didn't matter that night.
Instead, we pored over the work of our staff, less concerned with editing and more concerned with fully appreciating their incredible skill, knack for sick humour and selfless work ethic that put up with our three miserable souls for way too long.
At midnight, an hour late and the paper still not finished, our night composer came running into the office to yell at us to hurry up. He got as far as the doorway, saw the looks on our faces, and said, "I'll stay as long as you need."
Three hours later, four champagne bottles left dry on the desk, we and a couple of news editors we poached from The Spoke, all hammered, stumbled out of the office and closed the door on our Gazette experience.
We walked out as one drunken collective clump, leaning on each other in order to stay standing. We couldn't have survived our years there any other way.