Stepping out of these pages

My Hatchet days started the first day I stepped into Foggy Bottom as a GW student. C.I. One: overdoing whiskey shots with fraternity boys at Tequila Grille, a midnight monument walk with Molly and my first Hatchet assignment – a fitting way to begin a memorable college career.

The Hatchet has been more than a place to learn about journalism, people and the world. It has tested my strength, punished every mis-calculated step and at times rewarded me for sticking to my mission. From day one I have absorbed knowledge from the amazing editors who proceeded me and striven to continue their legacy.

In many ways The Hatchet has been my GW life. It’s where I discovered my passion for journalism, how complicated women really are, how to form and opinion and stand up for it, how to relate to people, to endure trying times, to take criticism and come out standing with my head up. Some lessons came too late to save relationships, but the learning process has always been there. I’ve formed life-long friends here (and some accidental enemies) and gotten to know people I would never have known outside Hatchet walls.

I remember first stepping into the G Street townhouse bright-eyed and demanding a story. I reported on freshman move-in at Thurston Hall before there was a swank place called HOVA. My first lesson – that persistence and hard work pay off – was an important one. Others have learned the same at The Hatchet, from a dread-locked Kate taking photos and writing about recycling to Tim chasing sirens to Mosheh getting the ZBT scoop to Trevor and his nine-straight front-page stories. You can throw Snow into that impressive line-up now, too. During my freshman and sophomore years, I was known as the kid with a reporter’s notebook in his back pocket and pen in his ear. That kid has always been at The Hatchet in some form or another (take Berger as an example), and it’s what makes our paper what it is.

My second year at the paper brought many lessons about people and myself. Working as a news assistant with Theresa, I learned that the only thing worse than not having a friend to depend on and trust is not truly appreciating her when she’s there.

That was the year I met a quirky kid from California. Reefs, floppy hair and a lazy smile. I never would have guessed Grant would become my second half. It all started with a wild idea, a calendar, and the dynamic duo was formed. We had some crazy times – our Kate, stripper girlfriends, broken tables, cruising with older women – and came out changed but very much the same. That’s when I met another man who would have a profound effect on my life. Itti’s honesty, integrity and thoughtfulness have given me something to strive for in myself, and I thank him for providing me with a role model.

That year I also learned about love and the heart and about actions speaking louder than words. Yes Francesca, you did have an effect on me. I learned that office romance is an inevitable, and positive, thing in a place as tight-knit at The Hatchet and that feelings are more delicate than a loud-mouthed sophomore from the South may think. I made it through the year with a life’s worth of lessons and prepared for some of my biggest yet.

Rich Murphy and I realized exactly what we had gotten into taking over The Hatchet as we sit exhausted in the business office at 7 a.m. to the sound of our G.M., Steve, walking in. It was a daunting production night and only the first of many. But we made it through because Rich had trust in me, and he had trust in his staff. I grew to love Rich for his positive attitude, sense of teamwork and confidence in people, and I have worked to instill those things in this year’s staff. From the Hatchet Wall to the Golden Hatchet to a bigger, better size to ass-slapping and Hatchet Bowls, we created something together that I am very proud of.

There were plenty of low points that tested my endurance through my years as managing editor, and editor, but I’ve learned from them all. To those who came and went, I wish you only the best and lots of luck.

Gladys taught me how to look into to someone’s heart and showed me that teamwork can produce some great results, as we revamped a Web site (thanks John and Oliver for your hard work), re-designed The Hatchet and had a great time doing it. Tim taught me that passion is infectious; Katie taught me that people can surprise you if you take the time to know them; Andy taught me to believe in the kid with heart; Zach taught me to relax a bit; and Cindy taught me that a true pro only needs lots of space to fill and the trust to let her run free.

But the lessons really started coming this year. It’s been amazing to see editors who are inspired by the mission of The Hatchet take off, and take our pages into new territory. None of it was possible without the support of a strong right-hand man. We are indebted to Steiny more than most realize.

Beth Brown came in with some huge shoes to fill and left a few pair of her own. Her writing skill, leadership and overall charm will be an asset next year. Moshcrew came in yelling, and he hasn’t stopped. He is our tyrant, our truth-seeker, and an invaluable component of our paper. Sean and Lauren took the sports section to new levels of creativity and gave meaning to the word “team.” LizBart has grown more than I could have imagined. If our townhouse crumbles and all editors grow ill, there will still be a paper as long as Liz is there. And, of course, there is ‘Lil Sis. I love you, Kate, and I know you’ll make us proud.

I’ll always remember the first day I met Trevor Martin. Hunched over a keyboard typing his copy about the World Bank. When he told me he had interviewed a source there, I knew he would fit right in as a resourceful newsie, and I was right. There are also the indelible images of a sleepy Salma in an Ocean City coffee shop, Mantone (on one!) looking so together in her interview, Erin rolling her eyes as she gets a lecture on the dangers of reading in the dark, Steiny in his Diesel flip-flops, Safdie on the air guitar. And who could forget Steve dancing in the streets of New Orleans?

I’ve been criticized and even demonized by some. But that’s to be expected when you open yourself to the world for scrutiny. The Hatchet is a paper for students run by students that strives to lead discussion on campus and defend the best interests of students. It’s a difficult bill to fill, and one I think our staff has done a phenomenal job filling. But that’s up to others now.

The Hatchet can’t claim credit for all my growth, though, as I finally learned the meaning of that four-letter word “love.” Katie, you have my heart and I trust you with it. Kevin, Jason, Brad, Corporal Owen, Steph, Courtney and the Thurston third-floor crew: thanks for the great times and for getting me out of the office from time to time. And to my sweet neighbor Elizabeth: grazie per le memorie.


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