Hatchet kicks off major fundraising initiative

The GW Hatchet will launch the first major fundraising drive since the newspaper became independent in 1993 during a gala fundraising dinner at the National Press Club on May 3.

“I can think of no greater setting than the National Press Club to launch the drive that will ensure the future of The Hatchet,” Editor in Chief Jared Sher said. “The place where so many great journalists have come together in the past will hopefully symbolize the future excellence of this newspaper.”

The proceeds from the campaign, which seeks to raise $500,000 during the next four years, will go primarily toward funding the editor in chief’s stipend and the salaries of the production, editorial and business staffs. The May 3 gala will feature a representative from The Washington Post as speaker.

“The campaign will ensure the ability of future students to have time to be able to take advantage of the extra-curricular activity of a student newspaper without severe financial pressures,” said GW Hatchet General Manager Steven Morse.

Morse, who has managed the 93-year-old newspaper for 11 years, has worked with 10 editors in chief and said the stipend is essential to continuing the level of excellence in The Hatchet.

“Every single one of them has benefited from the security and stability that the student leadership stipend provides,” Morse said. “This is an organization that puts out 60 issues a year, and it requires leadership that can focus on the job of putting out a newspaper.”

As part of The Hatchet’s independence agreement with GW, the stipend that is available for editors in chief will expire in four years. The campaign will raise enough money to ensure that The Hatchet’s ability to fund the stipend will continue.

“Obviously anyone at The Hatchet knows that nobody works here simply for the money,” Sher said. “At the same time, nobody could afford to work here for free. Hopefully this scholarship drive will not only allow us to continue to pay (our student staff) but eventually to bring their salaries up so they don’t feel compelled to take a second job.”

The Hatchet runs on an annual operating budget of approximately $350,000, most of which is generated from advertising and subscriptions. Although The Hatchet has been profitable since severing ties with the University, Sher and Morse both said a fundraising drive now is necessary to maintain financial viability in the future.

The four-year campaign will ensure that The Hatchet will be able to continue to pay its students competitive salaries by the time the editor in chief’s University stipend expires in 2000.

Former Editor in Chief Elissa Leibowitz said that while the stipend means she is now paying back less in student loans, the ability to focus on The Hatchet full-time helped her develop the skills to land a job at The Washington Post in the sports department.

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