Caitlin Carroll: Big changes for The Hatchet

You know how the saying goes – bigger is better.

Using a little bit of that logic, The Hatchet will be trading its tabloid pages for a new size. The next time readers pick up a copy of our newspaper, it will be about two inches wider and five inches taller than before. The new format, called broadsheet, is the size of The Washington Post and the majority of college papers in the area.

We finalized our decision in early May after staff members pushed for the change. The annual Colonial Inauguration Guide, a freshman orientation edition set to come out in mid-June, will be The Hatchet’s first broadsheet issue. After that, all of our issues will be printed in the new format, which we hope will improve the quality of the paper.

In this case, bigger is better for a number of reasons. First, The Hatchet will look better. With expanded photos and more advanced design elements, the new broadsheet pages will create a larger canvas for photo and design teams to work with. You can expect a more impressive layout and bolder images on next year’s Hatchet pages.

Another impetus for the change involved the ability to engage in a more professional advertising market. As an independent student newspaper that supports its operations almost entirely through advertising revenue, The Hatchet is always looking to improve ad sales. Bigger pages give advertisers more options when choosing the size and look of their ads, and more advertisers will hopefully seek to represent themselves in our issues.

In making this change, we are also taking a cue from our peers. Almost all of the country’s best college newspapers are broadsheet. This year, The Hatchet was one of only a very few tabloid-size papers that won the Associated Collegiate Press’ prestigious Pacemaker Award. It was the first time GW’s newspaper won the award (which only goes to about 25 college papers annually) in more than half a century. The Hatchet has done remarkably well as a tabloid paper in what seems to be a broadsheet world, but we cannot rest on our laurels. Our new size will help us stay competitive with the nation’s leading college publications while maintaining the quality that our readers know and trust.

Readers who have enjoyed the convenience of The Hatchet’s tabloid size may have some hesitation about this new format. It is harder, after all, to leaf through larger pages in class without your professor noticing. Our staff considered this dilemma in discussing a shift to broadsheet, but we noticed that students seem to easily manage with large papers like The Washington Post and The New York Times every day.

While it might take some getting used to, the bigger broadsheet pages conveniently fold into quarters, something the old Hatchet couldn’t do. Consequently, the new Hatchet may be even easier to fit in a bag when you are on the go and easier to read when you’ve slyly placed it under your notebook in class.

All readers are welcome to offer their views about a broadsheet Hatchet by writing a letter to the editor (letters@gwhatchet.com) or by commenting on The Hatchet blog, at hatchetblogs.com.

Here’s to a bigger and better campus newspaper.

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

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