One hundred-twenty years of printing a daily newspaper has generated thousands of loyal writers, contributors and editors for The Daily Cardinal. That loyalty showed strong last weekend as nearly 250 alumni returned to their journalistic roots in Madison for the newspaper’s 120th anniversary celebration.
Events included a photography exhibit of the Cardinal’s past and present, panelist discussions from Emmy award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Cardinal alumni, a Daily Cardinal office open house and an anniversary gala.
Founded in 1892, The Daily Cardinal has seen war, the Great Depression and a shut down in 1995. According to Editor in Chief Kayla Johnson, the weekend helped bond current staff and alumni who have one thing in common: resilience.
“The weekend was really about bringing together the past and present of the Cardinal and celebrating our triumphs and the fact that not only have we not gone under in the face of serious difficulties, we flourished,” Johnson said.
Daily Cardinal Alumni Association President Tony Sansone said alumni continue to be involved with the Cardinal because they remember how the newspaper affected their college experience.
“Working at the Cardinal has a powerful effect on somebody,” Sansone said. “The ability to learn and to discover new things … and to have the opportunity to try without somebody hanging over your shoulder telling you whether it’s right or wrong is fairly powerful.”
Cardinal alum and Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times reporter Abigail Goldman is a living example of this “powerful effect.” She does not credit her reporting skills to the Columbia School of Journalism or the LA Times city desk, but to the Cardinal.
“There is something about the Cardinal, and it’s tradition,” Goldman said. “It’s tradition of muckraking, it’s tradition of not taking things at face value, it’s tradition of questioning authority that are so particularly appropriate for the kind of journalism that I ended up doing and the kind of journalism I still love.”
While the current staff spends countless hours in the office each week, Johnson said it was incredible for them to see journalists, such as Goldman, exhibit ongoing dedication to the paper.
“When all these people are coming back, you see that you are part of some sort of … tradition, some sort of fraternity of brothers and sisters that are equally committed to this newspaper,” she said.