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Gazette hits 40

By David Sorensen

So much for the death of print. The Gazette turned 40 years old last month, celebrating four decades of informing the university community about itself, despite a surge in communicating via the web and other electronic methods. Of course, we’ve also been telling our story to thousands of others in the province, across the country and around the world who have an interest in the university.

The first issue of the Gazette – four modest pages with no photographs – rolled off the presses on Aug. 2, 1968. The inaugural issue included an introduction from President Stephen Taylor in which he let faculty and staff know that the Gazette would be a “new tool which we all need in our work.

“A great modern university such as ours has many centres. Inevitably, as it grows, it becomes increasingly complex, and the risks and dangers of isolation get correspondingly great. Keeping in contact is essential, not only for efficiency but also for good and happy relations. We cannot stop ourselves from growing, but at least we must try to minimize the disadvantages of healthy growth. So, new methods of contact have to be worked out here at Memorial. Our latest step in this new field is the MUN Gazette .”

Worthy goals, indeed. In the ensuing 40 years, the Gazette has fulfilled that role admirably. That first issue included an article on Extension Service’s “Mini-Festival” written by playwright and prof Michael Cook. The premier issue also reported that the number of students doing summer session courses had skyrocketed from 1,808 the previous year to 2,546 in 1968. New staff were introduced, including University Librarian Donald L. Ryan.

Such was the success of the Gazette that the paper went to eight pages the second edition and 12 by the fourth. The fourth edition also featured the Gazette’s first photo, which turned out to be familiar to newspaper editors around the world, the cheque presentation. Still, H.P. Whaley of Buchans Mines presenting the first of 10 cheques to Lord Taylor was not be ignored.

The appearance of the Gazette has changed dramatically over the years. The first pages measured just seven inches by eight-and-a-half inches – today it’s a tabloid.

One dramatic change was the adoption of the web to complement the print edition way back on Aug. 25, 1994. It was not big on graphics, obviously, but it allowed those with web access to read the latest goings on.

We introduced full colour in 2004, a dramatic and welcome inclusion.

Despite the changes, we hope we’ve continued to meet the mandate outlined by President Taylor: “In launching the MUN Gazette, it is our earnest hope that the fortnightly chronicle of university life which it aims to provide will become essential reading for all who receive it.”

Here’s wishing another 40 years of essential reading.

David Sorensen is celebrating his 11th year as editor of the Gazette.



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