At least once every few weeks, I get an e-mail from an alumnus that goes something like this:
My name is (insert name here). I was a student (sometime in the past eight years). I was wondering if you could remove this article from GWHatchet.com. It has my name in it and (I can’t get a job/my company is embarrassed/I just don’t want my name associated with doing something that stupid). Thanks a lot. By the way, have you heard anything about (Pops Mensah-Bonsu/Mike Hall/Carl Elliott/Maureece Rice).
(Insert that same name here too).
When I get this kind of correspondence, I respond extremely quickly because it is a no-brainer. I should actually save the form letter and resend the same one every time. My response is some permutation of this:
(Insert name here)-
It is Hatchet policy not to remove any articles from our Web site unless there is a proven and substantial inaccuracy that would require a correction in the paper. And I am no longer sports editor.
There is typically an e-mail chain that ensues where the complainer describes how he or she did not know that the person with a notebook, asking questions and writing things down, was a reporter for The Hatchet. Sometimes they say they didn’t say the things our reporter wrote – a legitimate complaint and something our staff will look into. We have never, and likely will never, remove something from our Web site. It depletes the quality of our coverage and sets a damning precedent for The Hatchet.
Class of 2011, if I have one piece of advice I can impart on you it is to be careful of what you do in Foggy Bottom. That random night in Thurston will likely stay behind closed doors but if the Metropolitan Police Department busts you for marijuana, we will likely report on it and it will end up on our Web site. Last year we reported on four arrests for intent to distribute the drug and the names of those arrested will be forever attached to the crime.
It is The Hatchet’s responsibility to chronicle the happenings of this University. Whether it be the basketball teams’ trips around the country or a fraternity’s fundraisers, The Hatchet will be there. If there’s something you think we should be doing that we don’t do, something we should be covering that we haven’t been, let us know. Since 1904, we have been in Foggy Bottom to serve you and we will continue to do so.
But on the same token, we are here to report on this University as a whole and that includes the drug busts and also the celebrations. I can assure you, Class of 2011, that whatever you do here, good or bad, will stay with you. I won’t be editor in chief when you send that e-mail to The Hatchet but I assure you, whoever is there will have the same response as me.
Have fun, but don’t be stupid.