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September 28, 2000   The Link's 20th anniversary brings out alumni and their stories




Photo: Luigi Zardo

Luigi Zardo

Photo: Doug Leslie

Doug Leslie


by Jane Shulman

Luigi Zardo arrived at the Link office early Sunday afternoon, and before long, had five current ‘Linkies’ sitting around him, asking questions about the way newspaper production was done in the 1950s. It was almost too typical to believe: the guy from the old days and the kids of today fascinated with the other’s way of doing things. But this was genuine, and just the beginning of the student newspaper’s 20th anniversary alumni production.

The Link was founded in 1980 when Loyola News of Loyola College merged with the georgian of Sir George Williams University. The two schools had merged five years earlier to become Concordia, but the campus papers had held out, arguing that they were too different to ever consider merging.

Loyola News had its roots at the small Jesuit College, walking a fine editorial line between reporting the news it wanted students to have and what the priests would allow, explained Zardo, a retired Ottawa-area high school teacher, who was editor of the Loyola News in 1957-58.

The georgian, on the other hand, was a lefty powerhouse with a progressive agenda housed in the downtown core. It took more risks, published twice a week, and while part of the same university, was on another wavelength from the Loyola News.

“But then we were faced with the prospect that either we could merge or die,” explained Doug Leslie, who represented Loyola News in merger negotiations and became the Link’s first editor. Leslie, now a graphic designer and writer living in Pickering, Ontario, explained that the student union forced the merger, unwilling to continue funding two papers.

The papers grudgingly began negotiations over Christmas break, 1979. Everything had to be decided, from the paper’s main office location to its name. The group chose the name the Link by one vote over The Accord and The Meridian. They were looking for a name that was relatively bilingual, and represented literally the merger of the papers, linked by Concordia. By the fall, they were ready to produce the first issue of the Link, Concordia’s student newspaper.

The Link held an alumni production to mark the paper’s 20th anniversary, inviting former staff of all three papers to drop in and help produce a supplement for this week’s issue filled with alumni writing and photos of the party.

About 50 staff from the 1950s to the 1990s answered the call, many arriving with photos of late-night production marathons, Link parties and the accompanying tall tales. The consensus was that it is a mystery how the paper always managed to come out on time, given the shenanigans of the staff. Alumni pored over decades-old issues of the paper, pointing out stories and remembering details that didn’t make it to print.

“The Link comes out twice a week . . . whether you like it or not!” laughed one former editor, joking about what they used to tell people who wondered when the paper was published.








Copyright 2000, Concordia University