Junior Brian Costa said he is hoping to improve The Hatchet’s credibility while ensuring that the newspaper remains fun when he takes over as the paper’s editor in chief in May.
Costa ran unopposed for the newspaper’s top spot and was elected at an editorial staff meeting last week.
Costa said he hopes to put more soft news and features articles on a Hatchet front page that is typically dominated by news stories.
“I want to give every student a reason to pick up the paper other than the crossword puzzle,” said Costa, who as The Hatchet’s sports editor has sought to reach out to non-sports fans by including features on famous GW athletes and behind-the-scenes boosters in the section.
He has also spearheaded The Hatchet’s ongoing investigation into allegations that GW softball coach Shaunte’ Fremin mentally and physically abused her players.
A native of Long Island, N.Y., Costa began writing for The Hatchet’s sports department at the beginning of his freshman year. He served as the newspaper’s assistant sports editor before taking charge of the section last May.
Although The Hatchet has improved its coverage since becoming independent in 1993, Costa emphasized that the newspaper needs to keep the trust of its readers by continually improving content.
“Every year, it’s important to come in with a mindset of you have to do it all over again,” Costa said.
“You’re only as good as your last issue,” he added.
Senior Mosheh Oinounou, The Hatchet’s current editor in chief, said Costa has superb organizational skills that will make The Hatchet a well-run newspaper next year. As sports editor, Costa has been able to effectively report on GW’s varsity sports by assigning beat reporters to cover individual teams, Oinounou noted.
“The overall internal structure will be well-organized and the stories, the issues, will be well planned,” Oinounou said.
Oinounou said Costa should continue to foster relations with University officials and cover complex news issues adeptly.
“We’re taken seriously by administrators in Rice Hall, and I hope we continue that tradition,” he said.
Oinounou, who will most likely continue with graduate studies at GW next year, said he looks forward to giving Costa a lot of “feedback” about the newspaper, meaning Hatchet staffers should expect a barrage of e-mails, phone messages and unannounced visits from their beloved Chicagoan.
Oinounou said he is considering adopting the title “editor in chief emeritus” and retaining his private office at The Hatchet’s G Street townhouse.
Costa said he would also look to make changes in the editorial and production process that will allow The Hatchet to be a “true morning newspaper.” On production nights, Hatchet staffers typically work until 3 a.m. for issues that sometimes do not hit the stands until 10 a.m.
Despite the perception that Costa spends all of his time at The Hatchet’s office, the history major covers high school sports for The Washington Post and last year interned for The Post’s Web site. He was also one of eight college sports writers nationwide to win the NCAA/Freedom Forum Sports Journalism Scholarship this year.
Former Hatchet editors recalled Costa’s commitment to the paper and his strong reporting skills.
“He was so enthusiastic right from the beginning and just the type of person you want working with you,” said former sports editor Lauren Silva, who Costa worked under as an assistant sports editor last year.
“What he does very well is try hard to get people not interested in sports to read the sports section,” Silva added.
Alex Kingsbury, who served as the Hatchet’s metro editor last year, was unsure how Costa would fare as the newspaper’s editor in chief, but said he needed to improve on his basketball game.
“He’s got no outside shot. He’s bad inside and down low,” said Kingsbury, a student at Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
When asked about his basketball skills, Costa became defensive and almost smiled.
“Kingsbury is just bitter because I embarrassed him on the basketball court all last year, which is why he went up to New York,” he said.