Rachel Wallace: Copyediting with biddiesnaks: My year at The Hatchet

Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches – “30” was historically used to signify the end of a story – to reflect on their time at The Hatchet, published in the final issues of the year.

Copyediting is one of those thankless jobs. You get everything right, but no one ever says, “I found zero mistakes in the paper. You rock!” You get everything right except, say, the spelling of an obscure Russian poet, and suddenly nasty e-mails from alumni are just rolling in. (True story.)

But copyediting at The Hatchet…. Things happen and make the lack of gratitude over the painstaking maintenance of AP Style more than just okay. One of those things is TEAM COPY. It’s impossible to write about my experiences without talking about the other half of that team – the infamous and oh-so-aptly named Anna Storm.

I’m pretty sure Anna is the reason this year has been the most fun ever. In the seven-plus hours we sit in 2140 G St. each night, we always find lots of down time, just hours and hours of boredom begging to be filled.

And so TEAM COPY has become the “section” everyone probably thinks does absolutely nothing. We plug in earphones and watch hours of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, laughing out loud during the middle of every Photo meeting. We debate Jennifer Aniston’s status as vanilla – she so is – and read up on the latest Perez Hilton. We blast Gaga and Miley. We take mandatory field trips to Ivory and Starbucks. Sometimes it really does seem like we do nothing.

But no one can say we’re not dedicated, because we are absolute geeks about copyediting. We’ve made and purchased the most embarrassing TEAM COPY T-shirts online (but haven’t actually worn them in public yet). We have endless debates and Google searches, sparked by a hyphen between modifiers or the punctuation in parenthesis. And we bemoan AP Style’s latest abandonment of Web site (now website), and the organization’s oh-so-sexist refusal to capitalize first lady. Generally, we are the most awesome biddiesnak friends ever.

Everyone else at The Hatchet is just icing on the cupcake. When I first came to The Hatchet, I was scared of everyone. I couldn’t stop wondering how I would fit in, IF I would fit in, if the cool kids would ever like me. And then things just started to fit. I started fighting with Byers, laughing with Dan Greene, talking music with almost everyone. I started to fit into the family.

So here’s to you, family. Thanks for everything….

Sarah Scary (typo and it stays) is always dressed to impress and up for a Glee sing-along. When I met her, she quickly broke any sorority girl stereotypes I ever had and has now become one the of the most interesting people I know.

Alex Byers was, is and forever will be a mystery to me. But his dedication and leadership make The Hatchet the excellent newspaper it is today, and I’m so grateful for his never-ending patience with me. I know Cahn and French will continue on in his footsteps next year.

Justin and Chris are always up for a party in the bathroom and any movie that comes out, and I love them for that. Plus, they have great taste in sex, drugs and rock & roll. Enough said.

Mad shoutout to next TEAM COPY. Have fun and don’t spell anything worng.

Dan Greene is the nicest guy in the world, unless you disagree with him on how to use the term buzzer beater. Then he is a jerk. He also has amazing taste in music, as do his friends, and it’s been so much fun trading bands and sharing love over Brand New and Thrice. I would say he’s my favorite, but he never got me a date with Lasan Kromah…

Caroline, though seemingly quiet, has done the unthinkable and made the Arts section hipster-accessible, and by that I mean awesome. Her music choices are unquestionable, and her stories about Nickelback are hysterical. I hope The Hatchet can maintain what she’s done with her section.

And what would a 30 piece be without mentioning T.C. Flowers. Dear T.C., sorry about our semi-mean e-mail. I hope you liked your poem. We love you.

I would not have made it through the nights we stayed past 2 a.m. without Shannon – who shares my emotional elitism and love for pisco sours – and BB, who shares everything else. Thank you both. Stay in D.C.?

How do you sum up a 30-piece? How do you end, in writing, a whole year of The Hatchet? I still haven’t figured it out. The only thing I know to say is, thank you. And keep the beat going after we’re gone. -30-

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