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.
A small warning to future staffers from the person who was on scene at every sudden closure, evacuation, gas leak, car crash and 4 a.m. dorm fire, this job *might* get a little exhausting sometimes.
It’s not just gonna be all 20 of the kitchen fires you are called to during the first week of school (and I strongly suggest you resist the temptation to name each blog, “Students still struggling to understand oven, set dorm ablaze”).
It’s gonna get tiring explaining, “Well, no we don’t actually get SA funding, we haven’t in over 20 years,” and, “This is what it means that we are financially and editorially independent from the University,” and, “No, I am actually allowed to be taking photos here,” and, “This is what a news–editorial divide is,” and, “No, trust me, I know what I’m doing. I went through weeks of intense training designed to mirror professional standards, and I cover the same beat each week,” and of course, “Yeah, maybe we do take ourselves too seriously, but the last person in my position is now at The New York Times, so I’m going to put a lot of time and effort into this job.”
Like I said, it’s gonna get tiring sometimes, but if you’re like me, you’ll never get tired of it.
You’re not always going to be the most well-liked organization on campus, but I can without a doubt say the No. 1 thing The Hatchet has given me is respect for the GW community.
When I came to GW, I was overwhelmed and thought I would never fully immerse myself in campus life, but as a part of The Hatchet, I did just that.
If I hadn’t joined The Hatchet, I would have only a vague idea of what Greek life is, my only sense of the SA would be the campaign posters that go up once a year and I would have no idea just how much incredible work student organizations do on this campus.
I could tell you the tagline I use during hiring season – that The Hatchet has allowed me to photograph figures such as Bill Nye, Buzz Aldrin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, countless senators, congresspeople and White House members – but if I am being completely honest, I am much more grateful for each GW community member I have gotten to photograph for The Hatchet.
As cliche as it sounds, we are the most politically active campus in the country for a reason, and you will never meet a more enthusiastic community dedicated to creating change, investing in their passions and bettering themselves and those around them.
Student journalism is an important platform for highlighting the voices and work of communities, and there is no harder working community than GW.
So, to the future Hatchet staffers, when you’re exhausted from working a 70-hour week of covering assignments, managing other staffers, reporting on breaking news – and you have one more person to interview or photograph – never forget that individual has been working just as hard at something they’re passionate about, and you are there to tell their story. So approach each story with enthusiasm, but most importantly, respect. I can say from my own experience, it has been a privilege to cover the GW community, and I am proud to come from a campus filled with individuals so committed to changing the world.
Photographers: This year has been incredibly difficult for me, and you made each day a thousand times better. You are without a doubt my favorite part of this job. You are all incredible, amazing people, and each one of you makes The Hatchet a better place. So many of you have made yourselves indispensable at this organization. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of you. Never stop sending me hilarious Snapchats.
Dan: I can’t even express how proud of you I am. I truly love the way you support our photographers and your fellow members of staff, and I can’t wait to see what you do as photo editor. You have shown an immense amount of talent even when first joining The Hatchet. When you photographed Tim Cook at Commencement last year, Des and I would not stop talking about how incredible you are and how lucky we were to have you as contrib. As I once said that time I made you get coffee, “Thanks a latte for everything!” You are going to make Vol. 113 amazing! (Your Bachelorette podcast happening is crucial to this.)
Hardgrove: You’re about to be an editor and it’s what so many people have been waiting for because of the enthusiasm you will bring to this role. I know you’re about to make The Hatchet such an amazing and positive place and inspire so many great photographers! ‘Rah!
Olivia: You’re probably really excited but also really nervous about getting started right now! Don’t worry, your ability is stronger than I can even describe. You’ve got a lot of people supporting you who know just how talented you are and who are excited to work with you because they know you can kick ass. Don’t be afraid to be bold because your voice is incredibly valued at The Hatchet!
Desiree: You once described me as the person who steps in and solves a problem when no one knows what to do. I’m glad we were able to be that person for each other this year because this job would have been impossible alone.
Brandon: For starters, copy-editing is a hell of a skill that not many have, and I think you’ve set a high bar for future copy editors. You have a lot of strong opinions, and we go to a university where there are a lot of strong opinions in general, but the most frustrating part of being in a politically driven environment in my 20s is not the debates between strong opinions, but when I feel my opinion is quickly discredited because of my gender. You have never once stopped listening to me. The amount of times you have debated a controversial opinion is matched by the amount of times you have respectfully asked questions to further inform yourself and better understand different perspectives. You could not be a better debate partner, and you could not be a better friend.
Colleen: That time you hugged me at the Christmas party was debatably the most overwhelming moment of my life. When I first met you during coverage of the D.C. mayoral election, my first thought was, “She would be a great EIC!” I’m glad to see how far you’ve come. I know it’s not an easy job, but your commitment to journalism and human pyramids is unmatched.
Zach: Every newspaper needs someone who takes no shit, and I am so glad you were that person for The Hatchet. I have no idea what we would have done without you, and I also know you show immense compassion to your co-workers when they need it most. For all of that, I am very grateful.
Jacqueline: You will always be Miss GW in my heart.
RSG: You said your goal before leaving The Hatchet was to make it a better place, and I can definitely say you accomplished that. I am so glad we had someone as positive and constructive as you to contribute to The Hatchet, and I will always incredibly value you as such a delightful person.
Ellie: The work you have done here speaks volumes (pun) to why student journalism matters, and I truly cannot wait to see what you do as EIC. I am especially grateful for your coverage of issues impacting women. They say well-behaved women seldom make history, but I think well-organized Gap models might just shake things up in how universities are held accountable.
Sarah B: I can never decide who has the hardest job at The Hatchet. Your job is really, really hard, but also incredibly, incredibly important. I’m always a fan of any outspoken woman voicing her opinion, but you have done so much to draw attention to important issues on campus that are often overlooked. I hope this is something you continue to do throughout your life because you do it with such eloquence.
Melissa: You’ve got big shoes to fill, but don’t worry, it’s more than obvious you’re well prepared. The positive energy you bring to The Hatchet and your value of our role as a social organization will go far.
Sam: The answer is always a skeleton, not a sack of skin.
Eva, Avery, Robin, Lillianna, Ryan, Jeanine: You are all amazing and fantastically ridiculous. I am really glad you are the newsteam members I got to work with. Not only do you do a great job, but you always made me laugh and smile, and you go out of your way to support your fellow staffers.
Blair, Mark, Sarah M, Deepa, Nora: I wish I had spent more time with all of you because I think you bring the most fun energy to this organization. I’m glad those of you who aren’t graduating just yet can continue to do that!
Grace K: I’m really glad I got to share the third floor with you, because (a) you’re really sweet and fun and work really hard, and (b) you help keep Brandon in line while also being his partner in crime. Keep traveling, keep getting awesome tattoos, keep loving Disney and stay out of toxic rivers.
Grace G: “Just when it can’t get any worse, you run out of cigarettes.”
Tyler: It’s hard being a new face at this organization, but I’m so glad you were the new face. You stepped in when we needed you a lot, and I’m really glad you’re continuing to contribute to an important role at The Hatchet.
Regina: Let’s do witchcraft sometime.
Anna & Emily: I’m always happy to look out for anyone who contributes to the visuals team. Design is a skill few people have, and I know it’s a department that we want to grow. I’m so glad we have you two to provide incredible support!
Francis: The Hatchet is a teaching organization, and our standards are defined by how alumni contribute to us. Thank you so much for making sure that teaching is in action and those standards are being held. You have become an essential resource in overseeing that this organization continues to function to the best of its ability.
Erica: You looked out for me when I was just a photographer, and made sure I knew what I was getting into when I was interested in being an editor, but most importantly, you taught me, no matter how stressful things got, to prioritize taking care of myself. Thank you for giving me my first major opportunities and being such a fantastic mentor.
Fellow women’s studies majors: I am biased to say, of all the GW community members, women are the most hardworking, but I am also biased to say that women’s studies majors have the most supportive community at GW. I am so glad I found it, and I wouldn’t have gotten through GW without all of you!
Last note to future staffers: This might not be an easy job, but you’re still probably going to love every second of it. I was once told that journalism is a thankless job, and I don’t think that’s true. Make sure you are always supporting and looking out for your fellow staffers as much as possible, and always respect them even if you don’t agree with them. You have a significant platform most members of the GW community do not, so go out of your way to make sure all voices are being represented.
The breaking news beat: Most people would dread getting called to work at 4 a.m., but there’s nothing I love more. I was told when I came to D.C. that there are two people who run directly into a crisis when they see one – emergency responders and journalists – and that illustrates well what a career in journalism involves. The chaos of covering breaking news this year honestly made my life calmer. Covering breaking news is The Hatchet at its best. It is getting called to a potentially major story at any hour knowing you’re more than prepared to excel at your job at a moment’s notice. While most breaking news scenes near campus turn out to be false alarms, other times you end up running through smoke just to get near the scene or waiting outside taped-off areas for hours. During that time you are emotionally and professionally backed by at least one staff member, and, as such, working breaking news is often what builds relationships at The Hatchet. Covering breaking news defined my experience and built my relationships here, and it is without a doubt what I am most thankful for getting out of this organization.