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.
It’s funny how we fall into things.
How, as a freshman, I didn’t know much except for two things: That I liked to edit video, and I wanted to be part of The Hatchet.
So I visited The Hatchet in the beginning of the semester, and asked if there was any way I could combine my interests. Turns out the newspaper was just starting to incorporate video and they needed an extra hand. The section at the time was made up of my editor Amanda Lindner, me and – well, that’s it. Just me.
When Amanda graduated that year, nobody was around to take the section over except for me. I was a lot of things when Lauren French made the leap of faith to offer me the editor job: Nervous, scared, unsure, but mostly I was just incredibly energized.
Fast-forward three years later and our once-humble multimedia section has transformed. Hundreds of videos and audio slideshows, tens of thousands of views, national awards and dozens on our staff.
I never thought that my dream of building a multimedia section for The Hatchet would, three years later, come true. Thank you to the readers of this newspaper for inviting us into your Hatchet experience and engaging with our content. It’s the GW community and their support that motivated us to do the best work the multimedia team – despite our broken tripods, scotch-taped mics and couple of cameras – could do.
We’ve covered some difficult pieces: Vigils for Boston and memorials for students lost too soon. Eye-opening pieces: Voice training for transgender adults and the ins and outs of student campaigning. And also some fun ones: Holi, Danceworks, Girl Talk, Macklemore.
I’ve also had the chance to meet and interview some stimulating characters: Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Toni Morrison and even some hard-hitters like Snooki and Peter K.
I look back at the past three years and think: How did we make this section, this far-fetched dream work? I’m finding it hard to remember every detail, every challenge, triumph, surprise. But I can only conclude that with some luck, hard work and a great support system, things come together.
There are some people to whom I owe a tremendous amount both professionally and personally. None of the successes I mentioned above would exist without their continuous support. These following notes are just one small gesture, and I hope they express my deep gratitude.
This section would not exist without the multimedia team – a group who, over the past few years, has worked tirelessly to produce some of the best content on the web. Dear Team, I’m amazed at how quickly you’ve learned, how committed to this institution you’ve all become and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you. Diana and Zach, you are a couple of no-bullshit New Yorkers who will take this section to even higher peaks. You impress me more and more every day. To everyone – those of you who made a video every week, those who only made a few, those who have graduated and those who’ve just begun: I am honored to have been your editor.
It’s also true that the multimedia section would be nothing more than some vague nostalgia if not for the devotion of two very important women – the section’s femmes fatales. Marie and Gaby, you have been the art to my science, the heart to my mind, and our work together as a team – despite the bumps on the way, the tears and the challenges – is a chapter of my life I’ll never forget. Marie, you are the most relentlessly inspiring person I know and your energy, warmth and radiance are not only contagious, but make people – including myself – want to better themselves every single day. Gaby, you are a queen. Period. Your sensitivity and soul make you an artist in the truest sense, to be respected and looked up to. With your uncompromising creative integrity and quiet diligence, your touch, much like King Midas’, turns anything to gold. I’m proud to have worked with both of you and even prouder to call you my friends.
Two other incredible women were equally instrumental in making my dream of a multimedia section work. Lauren: When I was ready to give up, you pushed me harder. When I was ready to lose hope, you encouraged me further. When I said “I’m done,” you said “Do more.” Thanks for your strength and your faith in me. Priya, my dear. The seeds we planted for this section sprouted during your year and, with your dedication, we led it to maturity. Your persistent curiosity and quiet confidence – not to mention your beautiful eyes and smile – will make you unstoppable in the real world. You’re invincible and I look up to you every day.
Connor, Dev and Ferris. You guys are all brawn, muscle and common sense. Connor and Dev, my thanks to you is quite obvious in the sense that our website would literally not exist without your nocturnal dedication. Now go into the real world and make boatloads of money. You two deserve all of it. Ferris, you’re the powerhouse that kept the gears in this paper moving. From the first story we covered together – the transgender voice training – I could see what a phenomenal reporter you were. You’ve proven to have equal gifts in managing hundreds of news writers, and you’re going to run one hell of a tight ship next year.
Cory – my leveler. When I’m tearing out my eyelashes and screaming in the typical neurotic spectacle I’m wont to deliver, you do a few things: Stare at me, smirk, stay cool and – without saying a word – remind me that things will end up all right. I love the way your mind works and your never-ending determination to keep this newspaper fresh, exciting and relevant. Instead of “Why,” you ask “Why not?” I would wish you luck, but you don’t need it. It’s those qualities that will not only ensure your success as this newspaper’s editor, but have made you an even better friend. Thank you.
Traynor. You are one tough, ferociously loyal and fervently committed woman. Life throws you curveballs? You catch them, bare-handed, in mid-air, and hurl them right back where they came from. All, I might add, while wearing New England pearls and three-inch heels. Now that’s something to admire.
Ryan. I didn’t think I could beat your shoutout to me. But I’ll try anyway: The force and magnetism of your personality is stronger than Aretha Franklin’s upstaging backhanded flail at the 1998 VH1 Divas concert. ‘Retha might’ve managed to whip Carole King off that stage, but you, steadfastly, remain right in the center. Thanks for cracking me up and calling me out on my bullshit. You’re the real deal.
To Amanda and Jenna, I’ll keep it simple: You’ve lightened my life in ways you will never know. There is something, in that enchanting combination of your big hearts and twisted senses of humor, that drew me into you immediately and lifted me up from some very dark places. I don’t know that I’ve ever really expressed to you how seriously I mean that. Amanda, the expansiveness and generosity of your spirit is unmatched. I have grown so comfortable around you since the first time we met – that first time when I called you the least cynical person I know. A year later, this is still so true. Please don’t change. Jenna, your wit crackles so fast that I can’t even dream of keeping up. You’re the one who, even on the gloomiest days, unleashes my loudest and most un-self-conscious cackle – the kind that makes my stomach hurt even through the next day. I miss you so much already. I’m sad because it’s dawning on me that I probably won’t ever meet friends again quite as special as you two.
Annu. There is something daunting about trying to fit, in one paragraph, the depth and gravity of our friendship. You have been for me, more times than I deserve, the boulder, the rock that has stopped me from a downhill spiral. You understand better than anyone the most complex passages, the hidden nooks and crannies of my personality. And when I’m with you, we escape the day-to-day, the stress, the shit. The rest of the world disappears. Adrienne Rich had our friendship in mind when she wrote: “We want to live like trees,/sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,/dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,/our animal passion rooted in the city.”
To my friends outside of The Hatchet – yes, they exist – thanks for rounding me out, particularly my roommates Jeremy and Jordan, who fulfill the highest calling any true friends can strive toward: Making me laugh, without exception, every single day. So far, you two have not failed. And of course, to my parents who have supported me unconditionally through every step of my long, meandering and often frustrating journey, who have never judged, doubted or mistrusted my intuitions, I can only say that I love you very much.
Now, as I approach my 30th inch, I must end this column the only way I know how, the way you’ve heard me end video stories hundreds of times over the past years . . . in three – two – one – “For The Hatchet, I’m Gabriel Muller.”