Departing Editors: Leaving the executive chair

At 2:17 on a Monday morning The Hatchet newsroom is unusually quiet. The editors still left in the messy office at 2140 G St. are downstairs in the production room, busy proofing pages, adjusting headlines and making final changes.

A little laughter rises up the stairs as they chat, with red pens and highlighters in hand. Even after reading the articles nearly 20 times, the editors still find ways to improve them – a word here, a word there. Upstairs, Eminem plays softly on the radio.

I think I’ll miss this time most of all. Not just because it means I get to go to bed soon, but because there is a sense of accomplishment in knowing that hours (and hours) earlier that day, the paper did not exist. It was just scribbled notes in a reporter’s notebook, film in a camera and a grand scheme in an editor’s head. But the next morning on the newsstands, it’s something real. Anyone who played even the smallest role in the process has the right to be proud.

In a few weeks, the newspaper will mark a century of Monday mornings like this, when The Hatchet celebrates its 100th birthday. That’s a heck of a lot older than most institutions on this campus – older than Thurston sixes, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and most of the Foggy Bottom neighbors who fight him. Eminem wasn’t playing in the background when The Hatchet began, and making a change was not as easy as hitting backspace on the keyboard, but I am pretty sure the same feeling of accomplishment was there.

Surviving 100 years as a student newspaper is not an easy task. Surviving four years was daunting enough. A lot has changed in those 100 years, and even in my four – the front-page design, the stories covered and the bylines. One thing that has not changed however, is the dedication of its staff. Without a dedicated group behind the paper’s masthead, The Hatchet would cease to exist.

Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak once told me if a university president ever resigned, the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper should take over, because no one knows more about a school. I couldn’t agree more. So, to my current EIC, Kate, I am sorry SJT didn’t resign. You’ve made this my most fun and successful year at The Hatchet – who knows what you could have done for the entire school. Maybe Mosheh will lead a coup next year. I doubt it, though – he likes questioning authority too much to join it. And he is one of the best I have seen question it. It’s been a pleasure working with both of you.

And so the thank yous begin.

To the rest of the newsies: Kingsbury, the resident news elitist, we shouldn’t have faulted you for writing for The Hatchet like it was The New York Times; you’ll be there soon enough. I learned a lot from you, and everyone deserves that chance. Julie’s love for the paper and work ethic is what will keep this paper going year after year. She’ll be a great leader. Rachel, your laugh is infectious, and we needed it.

Most journalists say they love their jobs because it’s a constant education. That could not have been truer for me. Brian and Lauren, thanks for filling me in on southpaw and alley-oop and making me look forward to reading your stories. Read the sports section, if you don’t already, it’s more than worth it. Andy, I now know that emo and math rock are nothing alike. Some day you’ll have your own publication full of curse words and I won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.

Thanks, Snow, for finally letting me take a few photos and make my dad proud. Honestly, the office would almost be G-rated without you. Keep shocking people like me. We need it. Josh, on some long nights your laid-back humor was the only reason I was glad I signed up for this paper. Late, dude.

Liz, Rachel and all of the production staff, this newspaper is nothing without you. Barnett, I am confident in the future of the paper just because I know you’ll be here. Novak, I am glad you found your shoes. Janice, thanks for fixing all my commas.

To my features ladies – Cindy Roth gave me a chance, Salma and I made a great team junior year and Adina was a blast to work with. Shannon, you’re taking features to a new level reminiscent of the Rothinator, and that’s a great compliment.

I would be remiss if I did not thank Russ, who taught me more about journalism than most of my classes and pushed me to be my best.

Much of what I’ll remember about GW will have to do with this twice-weekly newspaper, but GW has been a lot more. Ever since the CI “Video Killed the Radio Star” laser show, GW’s had me hooked. The HOVA fourth floor crew started my college career out with a bang, and it’s been the time of my life ever since. God bless Chris Monroe and GW basketball, the pep band and the workers at the J Street Wrap Station.

The District has become home and one of my favorite places in the world. There are four girls in particular who will keep my heart in Foggy Bottom, no matter where I go.

Rebecca, Laura, Ally and Anu, my GW family, you kept my sanity and made these the best four years of my life. I never could have made it through my Sunday nights without knowing I’d meet you all for lunch Monday afternoon. From freshman year trips to the Days to touring the California coast and Smirnoff Ice at Mad Hatters, and everything in between – you are GW to me. Meet you in front of the Metro tonight …

Homegirls, keep on being “fantasmic.”

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for teaching me to ask questions and to use the active voice, and for being the people I most aspire to be like. All my success is yours. Thanks for giving me my two best friends. Kevin, you make me proud with everything you do. Keep writing and showing me up, the world needs you. To my sister Laura, the only person who has read every word I have written, none of this would have been possible without your support, and it has meant the world to me. All of this is dedicated to you.

Future Hatcheteers, work hard and have fun. And here’s to another hundred years.

-Elizabeth Brown has been an editor since fall 2001.

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