In 1996, exactly 20 years after I graduated from McGill, the alumni of The McGill Daily staff held its first-ever reunion. It coincided with, but was completely separate from, the official McGill entre-nous in Montreal the same weekend. Besides the expected resurrection of sentimental memories and renewed friendships, one regrettable observation leapt out at me: there was a generation gap. The gathering of some 200 was dominated by the baby-boomers (who attended McGill from the mid-’60s to the early ’80s), who practically ignored the venerable alumni from as far back as the ’30s as well as the current Daily staffers who were loyal enough to pay to attend. To my embarrassment, the dramas of ’60s-era radical politics and faded intra-staff politicking overshadowed any opportunity for Daily veterans of differing generations to come together. Since then, many friends from my era (I was Features editor in the class of 1976) have been disappointed to learn that the publication founded in 1911 that gave us so much to live for was no longer daily and was in perpetual trouble over funding. If I could get one message across to McGill’s current administration and student body, it would be that having a first-class daily newspaper is a vital component of a world-class university experience. It is an experience that transcends generations. I wish I’d appreciated this decades ago.
Charlie Clark lives in Arlington, Virginia. He has worked for Congressional Quarterly, the Washington Post, the National Journal, and Time-Life Books.
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