Diana Kugel: There is no “I” in Hatchet

At The Hatchet, we say “we” a lot. There, I just did it. “Are we covering that event?” “Do we put out an issue before Commencement?” “Did we mess up?”

For an organization full of people who love to see their own names in print, it’s funny how easy it is to happily accept the anonymity that comes with being part of “we.” But once you can comfortably ask “Are we having a staff meeting on Sunday?” you know that you are a part of something bigger and greater than the one story you’ve slaved over or the one page you lay out each week.

Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches - called 30 pieces - to reflect on their time at The Hatchet. Browse all.

The danger of writing this piece after 12 graduating Hatcheteers already had their say is that they’ve made most of the good points, but one thing is worth reiterating: Hatchet kids (as Amanda would call us) are dedicated.

If you pull your fire alarm right now, a reporter, an editor, a photographer and probably Freckles the puppy would likely come running. If an editor has to choose between homework and Hatchet, homework rarely wins (case in point: I have an exam tomorrow). If the first nice day of spring happens to fall on a Sunday or Wednesday, the Hatchet staff may grumble, but you will still find us in our townhouse, putting together the paper.

Because like it or not, the paper does need to come out the next day, and as a staff, we have to be able to stand behind every word, picture and layout design. Even when it seems like there is no news or nothing for the editorial board to write on or no artistic photos, our job is to fill those pages with quality content, week in and week out.

Not only is it our job, but it’s also a matter of pride. If you are going to pour your time, energy, heart and soul into something, you may as well make it good. One of the first things I learned at The Hatchet was how much power the written word actually has, when former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg e-mailed me about my very first column, asking me to defend it.

That has served as a pretty good litmus test for everything else I’ve written for this paper: If you can’t defend it to the school president, don’t print it. That may mean frantically coming up with something else to put on a page during production night, but that’s preferable to not being 100 percent sure you mean what you wrote.

While I have yet to experience a single production night when absolutely nothing has gone wrong, I also don’t remember a Sunday or Wednesday night when we didn’t have some fun. Somewhere between the coffee runs and the staff meetings, you turn from a random group of people that wandered into 2140 G St. for one reason or another, into friends.

Non-Hatchet friends end up asking why you feel the need to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas together, not to mention spending birthdays and countless Froggy Bottom dinners with these people. The answer is actually pretty simple: You want to. Walking into the Hatchet townhouse, you are showing up to do your job, but you also get to spend hours on end with some of the best people you’ve ever met.

People go abroad and staffs turn over, but somehow, we always end up with a pretty amazing group. For instance:

Gabe – I don’t know if you realize how much you taught me, but thank you for making me understand why “We pay $50,000 to go to this school” is not a valid argument for every column.

Lizzie – You were great to work with, and I definitely learned from you.

Claire – I had a great time working with you in the fall, and I’m so glad you decided to stick around this semester.

Justin – I never told you this, but from the time I edited your first column, I had a feeling you’d end up taking my place someday. Lyndsey – You work harder at each column than any writer I’ve ever worked with. I feel completely confident leaving our section in both of your hands, and I look forward to seeing big things from Ops next year.

Alexa – I hope you know how appreciated and valued you are. Something was noticeably missing those few issues when you were in Paraguay. You are an incredible person, and that school is so lucky to have you next year.

Natalie – Even though I was at The Hatchet for a semester when you were abroad, I still find it hard to imagine this paper running without you.

Roper – I know that your job is more stressful than everyone else’s put together, but you also handle it better than most people could.

Tim – Please stop sending me e-mails about pirates . but also, please don’t ever stop sending me e-mails.

Erica – I don’t know how you do it, but thank you for consistently fitting three pages worth of content onto the Ops page and still making it look good.

Brittany and Alberg – Thanks for sitting on ed board. I know endorsement hearings got a bit long this year, but you two always have refreshingly different points of view.

All the opinions writers and cartoonists – All of you have put in hard work this year, and the opinions section has been able to grow because of that. Without you, we really wouldn’t have a reason to do what we do.

My family and non-Hatchet friends – Thanks for understanding every time I said, “Sorry, I can’t talk right down, I’m at the paper.”

I put off writing this column until the very last issue (and minute) possible, but I am actually still turning it in ridiculously early. I was supposed to have another year to work on it, but apparently when you graduate early, it is still due that year. So unlike the other departing seniors I’m sharing this page with, I don’t get to say that I’ve been at The Hatchet “all four years” – but I can say I’ve never been more proud to say the word “we” in my life.


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