Michael Barnett: Inside our (Web) pages: Here’s blogging at you

College newspapers are rarely on the cutting edge of journalism. Innovations are introduced at major publications, and eventually trickle down to the college scene.

So it is with blogs, the medium first pioneered by closet extroverts that has proliferated on the Web sites of media outlets hoping to attract more online readers. In our own effort to add more Web-exclusive content and bring print readers to the site, The Hatchet launched three blogs last Thursday. They can be accessed from the newspaper’s home page, www.gwhatchet.com.

These blogs are not exhibits in egotism. They are not supposed to be about ourselves, even though editors’ headshots greet you at the top of the blog pages. Rather, the blogs are meant to supplement our strong print product by providing analysis of specific issues and insight into how the newspaper works.

The Hatchet blog, written by myself, and with other contributing editors, is a forum where visitors can pose questions about our coverage. My goal is to make The Hatchet a more transparent organization by answering queries about how we went about covering a controversial issue or why we didn’t cover a club’s event. I have already fielded questions about a staff editorial and the prospect of The Hatchet bringing on an ombudsman.

Opinions editor Kyle Spector and senior news editor Ryan Holeywell will also contribute to The Hatchet blog in response to issues relevant to their respective sections.

Campus news editor Brandon Butler writes the Student Association blog, for all you SA functionaries out there who can’t get enough of the maneuvers and machinations of GW’s student-politicians. Students have criticized the newspaper for not covering the SA enough; others have suggested we refrain from covering the SA members’ politicking, and just focus on issues. With Brandon’s blog, The Hatchet can satisfy both camps by covering the SA more extensively online while ensuring that print articles are mostly reserved for developments that affect students.

Editors Will Dempster and Jake Sherman cover mainly basketball in their sports blog, which I hope will be visited by the growing fan base of GW’s two highly acclaimed basketball teams. They will share tidbits about the team that often go unreported by The Hatchet and other media organizations. For Hatchet editors, our first priority is still the print issues. But just like our professional counterparts, we recognize that the Internet, and blogs specifically, can attract people who might not pick up the newspaper. We also hope that loyal readers find something new on the blogs.

And I promise the blogs will be more interesting than this column.

-The writer, a senior majoring in international affairs, is Hatchet editor in chief.

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