Hatchet elects Byers editor

The Hatchet staff elected junior Alex Byers to lead the paper as editor in chief for the 2009-2010 school year last month.

Byers, The Hatchet’s metro news editor and a former assistant sports editor, said he plans to improve the publication’s strong news reputation with an increased online presence.

“The Hatchet as an organization has been a great place to make leaps and bounds both in news and feature coverage, but also in online development,” Byers said. “That’s something that I think we’re going to be focusing on most.”

Staff members will need to learn how to target their stories simultaneously for print and the Web, Byers said. Rather than considering stories first as articles and then as interactive online material, reporters and editors will learn to target coverage for both print and online audiences.

“I want to make our Web presence blow everyone else’s out of the water,” Byers said. “If we do that, we’re not only going to look really good, but we’re also going to have a great way to provide news, and everyone on staff is going to learn a lot.”

The rising editor in chief said he also looks forward to developing the young staff. With 16 seniors graduating, The Hatchet will undergo a substantial staff transition.

“It’s a little bit scary that we’re graduating 16 seniors, but we’ve got a whole new crop of writers and editors with a great passion for journalism,” Byers said.

One of those seniors, current editor in chief Eric Roper, said he is confident in Byers’ abilities to meet the challenges he experienced this past year. The editor in chief, Roper said, must be able to manage a staff well and identify stories that create a powerful front page.

“It’s about knowing what a solid news story looks like,” he said. “I think he’ll have a strong capacity to do that. Plus he’ll have an experienced senior news editor and a talented editorial staff.”

Looking ahead, Byers’ former sports editor Andrew Alberg said the Minnesota native is more than prepared to take on his own platform.

“He doesn’t ever stop – in a good way,” Alberg said. “He doesn’t really take no for an answer. He’s willing to do the grunt work that’s so important to putting out a paper. He’s always willing and eager to do the work other people won’t.”

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