Monthly Archives: April 2013

A letter to my Gazette family

The Western Gazette, Issue 100.

 

Saying see you later—not goodbye—since 1906.

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At the start of my third year of university, I decided I wanted to get out there a bit more. Up to this point, the only real extra-curricular I had participated in was an intramural hockey team with guys from my floor—although great fun, it wasn’t exactly expanding my horizons.

People say there are forks in your life; choose one way, and your life will follow one direction, and choose the other, and it’s a whole different experience. People say these forks—and the one you choose to follow—basically determine what kind of life you live.

On the first day of classes, I found myself faced by one of these forks. I recall standing at the intersection of hallways in the media hub on the second floor of the University Community Centre. One path led to CHRW, Western’s radio station. The other led to The Gazette, Canada’s only daily student newspaper.

Now, in my first year I had attempted to volunteer for the paper, but hadn’t ever received any follow-up and had thus dismissed it. Would this happen again if I were to give it another shot? On the other hand, I was doing a lot of radio stuff at Fanshawe, and writing was my original passion. Perhaps I should try to get back to that?

I made what I would classify as one of the most important decisions of my life, and walked through the door to The Gazette.

 

It’s funny. I went to the paper with the intention of writing, but I didn’t. Instead, I became a photography volunteer, and was then hired on as illustrations editor for the next year. In between snapping photos and producing hilarious-yet-terribly-drawn comics I managed to write a few pieces, too. Then, out of nowhere, someone suggested that I’d be good at front office.

In a university of 25,000 or so students, it’s hard to stand out. But I got this chance. As one of three front office members of The Gazette, I was actually known. People came up to me and complimented, or criticized, my writing. It was like nothing I’d experienced before. Beginning at UWO (as it will forever be, to me) I had no aspirations to stand out. I had no inclination that I would. But four short years later, I was managing editor for the only daily student newspaper in the country. It was humbling.

This past year overseeing a fantastic staff was the best I’ve had. I know I will never have another job like this one. We wrapped up the year with an amazing dinner/ceremony last night, and I couldn’t be happier with how it went.

A final gathering where everyone could come together, eat, accept awards and laugh at pictures, followed by an outing to a bar. Gazette classic.

I’ve learned so much at this paper—some of which I’ll have to unlearn, like the m-dash and not using an Oxford comma—and I feel extremely privileged to have got to work here, with the people I did.

 

There’s no way I could have worked this job with any other two people than Gloria and Nicole. Yes, we fought. Yes, we got angry at each other, questioned each others’ decisions, yelled, swore, rolled eyes, flipped birds and made passive-aggressive comments at each other. But seriously, what would you expect? We worked together for approximately 50 hours a week, in close proximity. I had to give a speech last night, and in it I compared The Gazette to a family and said families always argue. I think the same holds true here; yes, we argued, but families argue. After this year I think the closest comparison I can make regarding the relationship between Gloria, Nicole and I is to that of a family. I love both these ladies, and would not hesitate in the slightest to work with either of them in the future.

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The front office bond is one not many people get to experience, and it’s difficult to understand or put into words. Suffice it to say that I will be lifelong friends with these two, and hopefully with my family of editors, staff and volunteers as well. Also, the amazing people in our composing department, without whom there would be no paper, ever. Instead, we put out 99 quality issues covering everything from elections to retirements.

As my tenure at The Gazette comes to an end, I feel like I owe so much to it. I’m now confident to go into the real world as a proud Gazette alumnus and make a name for myself, all while remembering my time at Canada’s only daily newspaper. I can do this, in part, because of the confidence I feel for the incoming front office and editorial board. Three great guys who will undoubtedly take the paper to new heights and continue the legacy.

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Good luck guys, and all the best for Volume 107.

 

Thanks for the memories, the good times and the bad, and for being like a family to me.

 

Cam Parkes
“Camopticon”
Managing Editor, Volume 106

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