Special editor says goodbye

There is a moment somewhere in your senior year that you realize your time is dwindling at GW. Plans are beginning to be made for the next year, and you are not included in them. People begin to ask you what you are doing when you graduate. And you realize things are changing. What has always fascinated me about the college environment is how cyclical it is. I know the names of only two or three people that were here five years ago, and five years from now, nobody will know us.

Every four years, a completely different Hatchet fills this townhouse. I have been fortunate to work with some of the greatest people, to learn from them, to interact with them. I couldn’t have asked for a better four years here.

Unless you spend a great deal of time in this office, you cannot understand the dedication that many Hatchet editors have for this paper. We have endured meetings with whiny administrators, internal arguments and the occasional brick through the window. But we have had some amazing experiences. The Hatchet has truly been my home for the last four years, and saying goodbye is going to be difficult.

I can see how I have changed as a person by going through the past four years of this newspaper. Stories pop out at me, and they mean so much more than a headline and words on a page. There’s the one where I got yelled at by an SA candidate. The one that I wrote at 3 in the morning. Ones that I spent all weekend working on. Ones that got rewritten by the editor, ones that I rewrote. Each edition of this newspaper over the past four years conjures up memories, a lot good, some bad, some unforgettable.

Each time that paper comes onto campus twice a week, people have slaved over it. They may have missed classes to catch the breaking news or stayed up too late to put the last pages down. People always wondered why we take it so personally when we get criticism. It’s because we hold the product so close to our heart.

A lot of people expected me to leave The Hatchet when I wasn’t elected editor last year. But I could never leave this place. Maybe the Rolling Stones said it best: You can’t always get what you want/but if you try sometimes/you just might find/you get what you need. This past year has taken me to Israel and New Hampshire as a reporter. I have gotten to get my feet wet in some of the biggest national stories. And I wouldn’t trade this last year for anything in the world.

But, enough waxing philosophical and time to leave some words of wisdom and a lot of thanks.

I love GW, and I have loved to see this place improve over the years. Sure, it is hard to keep track of the number of cranes on campus, but I am confident that the University’s physical structures will be amazing in a few years and the institution will be better for it.

As for the administrative structure, I am less confident. Too often during the past four years, I have run across staff who think they are running a communist government, not an institute of higher learning. It takes too long for anything to get accomplished here, people are too secretive and too many are just not nice – especially to reporters.

I just want to remind everyone at the University one thing – The Hatchet is not out to get them. We are here to tell the students the truth, and if you help us do that, instead of lying and deceiving, we will all be better off.

This is the perfect point to thank my partner in crime for the last few years – Francesca. At times, we have felt the world was out to get us, but we became good friends and better journalists for it. If four years ago, anyone had told either of us that we would be working together and getting along, we both would have laughed. But we did. I have more respect for you than you will ever know. You have taught me a great deal about being a better journalist and a better human being.

Dustin, thank you for giving me an opportunity to try something different this year and keeping me as a part of the team. You gave me the millennium project and let me do my own thing, and you were always behind me to help out and give advice. Your calm demeanor and cool head always seemed to prevail in tight spots. I am glad that I got the chance to work with you and become your friend.

Margaret, you haven’t killed me yet. You have an amazing gift with all things graphic, and some huge newspaper is going to look perfect because of you one day. Thanks for not always kicking me out of the production room and thanks for always pitching in at the last minute to save some millennium story from ultimate disaster.

Ali, you haven’t killed me yet either. At times, we raised the decibel level at the office, but we also had some pretty good talks. You and the GWeekend have been the rock of this paper these few years, and yes, I do read it.

Theresa, you got baptized by fire but grew to be a great reporter. The Hatchet is worse off for losing you. From Twist magazine to searching for a Dallas party, we have had some great talks, and you have always been there to listen. You’re a strong-minded person, and you will definitely succeed.

Steven, what can I say? You have gone from a shy reporter thrown into the mix to a strong leader. I think The Hatchet has done wonders for you, and as you go to take over the financial world, you can write your own press releases.

Gayle, you bring a wonderful spirit to everything you touch, and that definitely includes your page, which you did wonders to. Having you around the office has been great, and thanks for all the Freshens.

Rich and Russ, you guys can do amazing things next year. It is a chance for you to create your own niche and bring a sense of yourselves to the pages. Just remember, especially when times get tough, to have fun. But I don’t need to tell the two of you that.

And then there is Dave, who never saw a story he couldn’t make longer, Zach, who always has a great remark, Matt and his Simpsons quotes and Grant and his women. The team that was assembled this year was top notch, and I thank you all for being a part.

I have to thank some of those who came before me, because they inspired me to do great things. Jared Sher brought me here and always encouraged me, and I can never thank him for all those little pieces of advice. Becky Neilson was my boss for three years and never a better boss has someone had. Her enthusiasm and love for this paper were unmatched, and I thank her for always pushing me to the limit and inspiring me to be a better editor. Kevin showed me a different side of myself, Tyson taught me to always enjoy what you are doing, and Dave reminded me to laugh. And then there was Stacey, who always had a People magazine handy just when I needed one. It’s amazing how often something happens in this office, and I think of one of them.

Zeb, I hand you something very important to me. But it is yours now, and I hope you bring to U-WIRE a large part of yourself. I am confident you will be great and make me proud.

Steve and Mike, thanks for doing a great job keeping this place afloat.

Here’s the last piece of breaking news I will be writing for The Hatchet – I have a life outside of the townhouse. No really, I do. And my friends and family have been so great these past four years, I need to thank them.

Tammy, they say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Now I see what they mean. Having you back in D.C. has been great. We have been through a lot together, and I know that although I may be in Dallas, and you’ll be in Atlanta, we’ll still be close friends. Remember two key things: keep the banana bread coming, and there is never enough humping of the pie.

Skrmetti, you are both the smartest and strangest guy I know, but you’re a great friend. When you are governor of Connecticut, I’ll write the tell-all book about you. No one has taught me more about being a Stonecutter, and I can’t wait for you to come back to the states.

Emily, Hallie and Steph, what would this last year be like without you three? I just know I’d be a lot more sober. You welcomed me to
your circle with open arms, and I enjoyed getting to know you and your quirks. Thanks for always finding a place at the table for me and for a lot of great talks. Em, a special thanks for really being there when I needed you.

Chris, thanks for letting me win in racquetball every once in a while. You are a genuinely nice guy, and that is what I like best about you. That, and the Krispy Kremes.

Jeff, remember that everything happens for a reason. You will do great things in your life. And thanks for setting me straight.

Alan, you are the busiest guy I know. But those were some great games of wiffleball we played in the summers. You must come to Yankee Stadium this summer.

To Eva and everyone in Yonkers, thanks for a great experience. I had a lot of fun being with all of you, and thank you all for letting me part of such a wonderful team effort. Nicht Spreken!

And then there’s Rob. You’ve been my best friend for four years, and my GW life would be very different without you. From guitar riffs to parties to long conversations, it’s been a great time. I’m glad we got to room together this year, and thanks for always cooking for me. Print may always be better than broadcast, but you have established yourself as an up-and-coming journalist. I know our paths will cross a lot, and I can’t wait to watch you succeed.

My parents are the two greatest people in the world, and I don’t say that nearly enough. Your love and support through the rough patches meant everything to me, and your support now means just as much. I love you always and can never thank you enough.

Eve, you are a smart young woman who will go on to do great things. Best of luck in Syracuse, and always remember that it is, in actuality, my car.

And now as I say goodbye, I just need to say one last big thank you, to everyone at GW. This place has taught me so much about life, love, cooperation and a little about journalism. My experiences here cannot be summed up in 30 inches. It is a collection of great memories that will stay with me the rest of my life.

Every Wednesday and Sunday night for two years, after I edited my last news story, I uttered the same cheezy phrase from a crappy movie. It seems fitting that these be the last words here today.

The dishes are done, man.

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