You might have missed it, but just over a week ago, Maxine Mendelssohn’s final column for The Gazette was printed along with a long goodbye text.
Mendelssohn, some of you might recall, began writing for The Gazette while still a journalism student at Concordia University in 2003, and on July 15 of that year she began a city column in the A section. At 23, she was young and inexperienced, but that was the point.
In her debut column, she said that “unlike some other columnists, I am not a card-carrying member of Navel-Gazers R Us. I’d rather not be in the spotlight but shine it on other people.”
Over the ensuing months and after the column was killed less than a year later (May 4, 2004), Mendelssohn’s column was called everything from “a unique perspective” to “an insult to my generation”
Mendelssohn continued writing for the other end of the paper (she wrote for the fashion section when she started), doing profiles of young people for the now-defunct Urban Life section, and more recently profiling stores Q&A-style for a column called Retail Detail, which will continue under different writers.
The reason she’s leaving: she got married and she’s moving to New York.
Columnist casualties light this year
Despite the increasing crunch on newspapers in general, and the shrinking size of the paper, the number of columnists that have been dropped recently has been on the low side, at least compared to the house-cleaning that was done in January/February of 2008.
Among the recently departed:
Martin Coles had been writing Camera Angle, a photography column on a monthly basis since 2001, and on a biweekly basis starting Nov. 21, 1987, making for about 450 columns. But his articles go even further back, to July 28, 1979. He is a part of Dawson College’s faculty teaching professional photography. His last column was published on Feb. 21.
Gaëtan L. Charlebois was one of the paper’s ambassadors to francophone popular culture, writing about francophone television for a column called La Télé and francophone vedettes for Chaud Show. He came to The Gazette from Hour, where he had served as theatre critic. Before that, he was doing the same job at the Mirror. He began writing theatre reviews, contributing especially during festival season, and writing his two columns on Saturdays and Sundays starting in 2002 and 2003. His final La Télé column appeared on March 7. His Chaud Show column ended on Jan. 27, 2008.
Other more minor cutbacks also included dropping seniors columnist Hugh Anderson and the HealthWatch column to biweekly (the latter runs on alternate weeks with Shaping Up columnist June Thompson*), and killing off the sports crossword puzzle.
* An earlier version of this post said June Thompson’s column had been dropped to biweekly. In fact, it was always biweekly. HealthWatch was dropped to biweekly when it was moved from Monday to Tuesday because of the slimming of Monday’s Gazette. And calling it recent might be a bit of a stretch too since it happened in September. But what the hey, facts aren’t important, right?