Column: A paper by and for students

There are a little over 20 of us here in the Hatchet editorial office, editors and designers working in a cramped space on the top floor of a two-story townhouse. Add dozens of writers and photographers who contribute to these pages each year, and you have a pretty interesting mix of people. And yet still, we are far from being an accurate representation of a diverse student body. So as we begin our 101st year of publication, it is both our greatest challenge and our most important goal to be a newspaper that GW students can call their own.

We know some students care what happened at the Student Association meeting last week and want to know how GW’s latest dispute with its Foggy Bottom neighbors might affect construction plans for a new building. We also know some of our readers are more interested in whether the basketball team won and which movie they should see this weekend.

This inevitably means you may not be interested in everything you see in The Hatchet all the time. And that’s fine. What we care about is giving every student a reason to pick up the paper, even if only for one story, though hopefully many more.

That goal starts by putting out a front page twice a week that not only shows you our top news stories but also gives you a great feature or sports story. And when I say story, I also mean photo, because we take pride in putting out images that are not just pretty pictures but tell you a story in a way that words cannot.

It continues with a news section that takes seriously any issues that students care about. If there is one thing most people seem to agree on, it is that students pay a lot of money to be here. We can’t guarantee that you’ll get the most bang for your buck, but between the GW administration and the Student Association, we’ll make sure you know where the money is going and let you decide.

This goal will continue on our opinions page, which we hope will be a forum for a thoughtful exchange of ideas. To address a common misconception: this will not be a liberal or a conservative newspaper. Our editorial board has opinions and will express them. As for the rest of the opinions page and the paper as a whole, our only slant is being by and for students.

We will, however, make mistakes. And we hope you write a letter to the editor if you believe we have made one.

As you turn the pages deeper into the paper, we hope to give you a reason to stop and read something instead of making a beeline for the crossword puzzle. On Mondays, that middle portion will consist of a Style section that will tell you about the trends and culture that makes this campus what it is.

On Thursdays, our arts and entertainment section will look to help you figure out what to do with your weekend, whether you want to go to a bar, see a movie, or even (gasp) go check out an art display.

And last but certainly not least, our goal will continue on our sports page. Given the interests of our readers, we feel strongly about being the authoritative source of information about GW’s basketball teams. But there are a few hundred varsity athletes at GW, and their stories cannot go untold.

We hope all of this gives you some reason to read us twice a week. The respect and readership of administrators, faculty and community members is important to us, but our mission is to serve students. If you feel there is a better way we can do that, or if we’re missing something that’s important to you, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (202) 994-7550.

Because as you read this, there are people at 2140 G Street working on stories or designing pages. We’re here because we want you to love this newspaper.

-The writer, a senior majoring in history, is Hatchet Editor in Chief.

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