Time ticks on a different kind of deadline for Hatchet

Greetings from Foggy Bottom. I was planning to write about the importance of deadlines and how the experience of producing a student newspaper was both the best and worst experience for college students in learning the value of meeting deadlines. But then again, you already know that from personal experience, so I’ll simply mention the deadline we all share now.

Thirteen months from now, the University’s matching grant pledge expires. In the meantime, each of us has an incredible opportunity to multiply our generosity in helping assure a bright future for student journalism at GW. The Hatchet’s Scholarship Fund is approaching the level where it can start providing meaningful support for student editorial and managerial stipends. And from the looks of the economy, we will need it next year.

Until the Dec. 31, 2002 deadline, GW will match every contribution dollar for dollar by GW. In addition, The Hatchet has pledged up to $50 per donor (per year) in matching funds from our operating budget. That means every donation up to $50 is tripled, and those above are doubled plus $50! So please consider giving now and making a real impact for the future. Remember, this is a permanent, restricted endowment – only the income will be spent, and under the direction of the board of directors.

Since Sept. 11, these issues seem to pale in comparison to the personal, national and, yes, global pain and need facing modern society. Just where does student media fit in to this world turned upside down for today’s generation? And is it relevant?

I can report that The Hatchet played a vital role in the life of our shared community and personally for this year’s staff. On Sept. 11, the business office opened its doors, phone lines and ultimately internet connections to students in shock. Some lined up at the phone booth across the street trying to reach loved ones. As the day progressed, our news and photography staff as well as the D.C. bureau for U-Wire went into overdrive, publishing numerous stories and helping the GW and national university communities learn first hand of the many ways we were all touched by these tragic events.

For our own staff, it provided a purpose in the days that followed, a reason to continue in the face of loss, fear and anger. We shared the grief of two staff members who lost cousins and colleagues around the nation who lost family and friends. The Hatchet is a second family or social club to many each year, and the value of those connections proved themselves this fall as students continued to go to class during uncertain times.

So yes, meeting deadlines is an important learning experience for today’s student staff. But seeking and finding meaning to their education, friendships and collective enterprise was the true meaning for Hatchet staffers this fall.

It is a privilege to work with them.

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