Junior Caitlin Carroll said she plans on bolstering staff development, particularly with new writers, and publishing more special issues and outside projects next year as The Hatchet’s editor in chief.
Hatchet staffers voted Carroll, the features editor, to the newspaper’s top spot last week. She will begin her new position in early May, pending approval from the newspaper’s board of directors. Carroll will be replacing Michael Barnett, a senior.
Carroll, a journalism major and sociology minor, said one of her main initiatives will be utilizing the strong senior editorial staff that will be returning to the paper to attract and cultivate underclassman writers throughout next year. Only two current editors are graduating seniors.
“I want to continue to build up the staff and try to get younger students more involved with The Hatchet, because we have such a large and well-rounded returning staff who can help them develop,” she said.
Carroll added that her other main goal is to come out with more special issues of the paper, building on the annual basketball preview and last year’s national election guide. She said she would also like to publish a glossy magazine-style entertainment guide to be distributed with the paper, as an enhanced version of the GW Insider published by The Hatchet last semester.
She said, “I want people to pick up The Hatchet not only because it’s really informative but because it’s entertaining, too.”
As the features editor this year, Carroll revamped and managed the Life section of the paper, published weekly in Monday issues. She has partly focused on themed issues, such as the housing guide, cooking guide and Halloween edition.
Also, she has explored the cultural aspects of campus in expos?s on GW’s reputation as a rich kid school and on hooking up in college, for which she recently won a regional Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for in-depth reporting.
“I had a lot of fun building up a section that has traditionally been a weaker section of The Hatchet,” Carroll said. “It’s what I’ve enjoyed most since I’ve been here.”
The Indianapolis native first became involved in The Hatchet as a freshman writer in the news section. She was hired as an assistant news editor for the first semester of her sophomore year and in spring 2005 was promoted to campus news editor before taking over features her junior year. Carroll is the first female to lead the paper since the 2002-2003 academic year.
Barnett recalled Carroll’s nearly not being hired.
“Then-editor Brian Costa and I interviewed five or six writers for assistant news editor. At the end I was like ‘Whom should we hire?’ and he was like ‘I don’t have a clue’ and I was like ‘Caitlin seems cool’ and he said ‘OK,'” Barnett said. “I made a great decision – a rarity for me – and totally on instinct, too.”
Barnett also remembered Carroll’s inauspicious beginning as a news editor.
“Usually, when I call people to offer them jobs, they accept unhesitatingly,” he said. “When I called Caitlin, she said she’d call me back with an answer. I didn’t get it then, but she was exhibiting a thoughtfulness that over the years has endeared Caitlin to her colleagues. That thoughtfulness will serve her well as editor.”
Junior Maura Judkis, The Hatchet’s arts editor, who edits Carroll’s articles each week, said Carroll is a “thorough editor” and complimented her willingness to contribute to the arts section by suggesting ideas and ways to improve.
“I think that’s something that she will be able to bring to all of the sections next year, and with her touch they will all turn out great,” Judkis said.
Carroll said that preparing to become editor in chief is like preparing for parenthood because “you never completely know what you are getting yourself into.” She hopes to continue the tradition of improving the paper under each new leader.
“I’m really happy and pleased to have received so much support from the staff,” she said. “The Hatchet had a really good year this year, and we are well poised to get better next year, too.”