Robin Eberhardt: There’s no place like The Hatchet townhouse

Media Credit: Olivia Anderson | Contributing Photo Editor

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.

When you walk into the second floor of The Hatchet townhouse, you’ll find some computers, some chargers, a couch and my beat-up slippers on the floor.

I’ve moved from dorms to townhouses to apartments through my time at GW, but I didn’t find my real home on campus until I moved into 2148 F St.

Being an editor at The Hatchet is a full-time job. It’s the kind of job that could easily keep you occupied all night – and you still wouldn’t finish everything you aspired to accomplish.

When I was first hired as the metro editor as a sophomore, I remember my transition: Hell. I was so proud that I was chosen to be a part of a century-old newspaper as my first job in journalism, but I wasn’t used to sending 50 emails a day or spending entire afternoons cold calling experts, in addition to responding to breaking news alerts and trying to get stories in before deadline.

When I was first hired, I thought I was the only one struggling through the immense obligations that made me feel like I was always messing up. I couldn’t imagine anyone else crying by themselves in the middle of the night, thinking about how much they just wanted to sleep when they still had drafts to write. I couldn’t imagine anyone else sitting down and working on a story for six hours – and still be working on it after the end of those six hours.

During my first several months as an assistant news editor, I cried every day. I struggled every day. I know it was probably just me being dramatic, but I never felt like I did anything right. And if I was proud of any of my work, it probably wasn’t finished before deadline.

To be honest, most of the tearful nights came because I thought I was the only person in the world feeling the pressure that I felt. Eventually, I gave up on being alone in public buildings and started coming to The Hatchet townhouse, thinking that it was probably better to cry there than in public at 2 a.m.

Soon enough – after I got the reputation of spending all my hours in the townhouse – I convinced other people to stay there with me into the early hours of the morning. Finding this place and other people who feel like they have a never-ending supply of Hatchet work is what kept me sane as an editor. It also introduced me to some of my best friends along the way.

I found my home in The Hatchet townhouse, as anyone who found my slippers and Snuggie there would see. 2148 F St. has been my sanctuary on campus, and I would like to thank everyone who made my time here so enjoyable:

Colleen Murphy – You laughed when I wanted to make sure you would still answer my texts about metro stories after you graduated. Though I think I only ended up reaching out to you a few times since you graduated and left The Hatchet, I feel that I have been building off your work the whole time I was metro editor. Thank you for putting up with both my tears and my questions when I had them in my first few months as an editor, and for teaching me the ropes when I didn’t know what I was doing.

Zach Montellaro – I bet you are proud of yourself that you made it into yet another 30. Well, here you go. Though you can’t remember basic details about my life, you were always a comfort to me when we were on The Hatchet together. I remember when you gave me my first WordPress password “Robinisthebest” when I was brand new to staff. I remember when we walked back to the townhouse together after Tim Cook’s commencement speech when I was a sophomore and I was happy that I got to walk back to campus with that cool guy who basically ran The Hatchet. Yeah, I used to think you were really cool. I’m still trying to think of another compliment relevant to any interaction we’ve had since you graduated, but nothing really comes to mind. I might have to get back to you on that. In the meantime, I know you will continue to be successful in journalism.

Brandon Lee – Where do I start? I guess I could say I don’t understand why someone who has his life together like you do would be so willing to drop what he’s doing to spend time with me on the rare times that I have a night off. Or more accurately, you let me drag you around campus when I run into you on F Street when you were hanging out without me. When you were on The Hatchet, I love how you were always available to hang out in the middle of the night, and even agreed to watch Pride and Prejudice in the editor in chief’s office with me that one time. I even remember you buying me dinner a couple times last year, so you can let me know how much I owe you for that. You are always there to slap be back to reality when I’m being petty and anxious about things that are out of my control. Thanks for always making yourself available to me when I need you.

Ellie – You are far more aggressive than your innocent Midwestern appearance makes you out to be, and that is a compliment. Whether you are dressed as a model from a yogurt commercial or a mom, we could always count on you to hold this University accountable while being fair to the people involved. It might not be original of me to say that you were a meticulous editor and an extremely diligent worker, since I’m sure everyone who knows you will bring that up, but it is true. You always put 110% into everything you do, and that shows in the quality of your work that you consistently put out. You have led our paper through chaotic times at GW and we are still here for Vol. 114, so the year seems like a success to me.

Dan – I am glad that you agree that we have a great relationship. Though most of our communication over the years has been arguing about arranging portraits for my stories and commenting on the photo budget, I have grown to enjoy your grumpy outlook on life. It’s always refreshing to meet a 20-year-old who has the personality of an old man. Thanks for appreciating the D.C. Council as much as I do.

Olivia – Thank you for spending an hour just to take a picture of me, not to mention putting in the extra time to make it look good. I am sensitive about sitting for portraits and almost never like the result, so I really appreciate you making the photo for my last story special. I’m going to keep a special eye out for the photos next year for you. I know you are going to kill it and I hope you get to take portraits in all the other places on your make out spots list.

Sam – I hope you don’t blame me for never wanting you to photograph me again. You take beautiful pictures of other people apparently, but I can never let you recreate that one close-up shot you got of me where I have 5,000 chins. Assuming you remember that I am graduating in May, I hope you will spend the rest of our fourth year in college not being mad at me. I also hope you are mistaken for a dad on a photo assignment again, because that would make me laugh.

Max – Your cheerfulness instantly brightens up my day whenever I encounter you. I am so happy that we have you on staff to make our mouths water whenever we see your byline. Though I usually have a really hard time letting go of reporters who leave the metro section, I have to admit that you found your calling in another section. I love that I get to run into you at staff meeting and at chapter, and thank you for comforting me when I run into you after an all-nighter.

Matt – It’s hard for me to pick out what to say about you when I’m not sure who you even are. Half the time, I can’t decide if you’re being sour or sweet. I cringe when you pick up a scissors or a lighter like the way you should cringe when I pick up an empty gatorade bottle. I trust that you will continue to put out sports stories that might as well be in a different language to me, but I will read anyway because I like the sound of them.

Colleen G.– You impressed me right away when I heard that you are from my hometown, but I have been impressed many times since then. You have picked up being an editor incredibly fast since you were hired, and I am excited to be following along on your stories as well as your social media accounts.

Sera – You are the perfect person. I have never met someone as hard working, organized, caring and beautiful as you are. I don’t understand how one person can be so put-together as you are, and I am happy that I got to spend more time with you at KD events. Thanks for sending me your notes when I skip class and for reminding me when our deadlines for KD events are. You are flawless.

Catherine – I am happy that something about the metro team enticed you into being added onto my list serv this year. Your love of looking through documents and making spreadsheets has saved me multiple times this year. You have always been eager to take stories, even while juggling work from your classes, internships and stories from other editors at the paper. You were a pleasure to have as a reporter.

Ryan – Ever since we were both editors, I’ve been able to rely on you to be sassy when I need someone to vent with. You always have strong opinions and crazy stories. I know you will be making more money than I ever will because of your internship prospects, so I trust that The Hatchet is in good hands when you’re helping with fundraising. We need to get brunch sometime.

Eva – #tbt to when you forgot to accept me to your news section when I applied to this newspaper as a sophomore. Thank you for eventually discovering my name in the all staff list and accepting me into your section mid-semester. Not only were you my editor, but you were also my first friend at The Hatchet. Thinking back to my time as your reporter, I am shocked that I made it to the news team. I don’t think I ever volunteered to do stories unless you messaged me individually asking me to do a story. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to sign up for stories or even apply to be an editor if you had not encouraged me the way you did. Thank you for helping me to accomplish what I did at The Hatchet.

Elise – Per your request, I’ll try to keep the compliments here to a minimum. You have one of the most insufferable jobs at The Hatchet, in my opinion, and you always manage to stay on top of it. I don’t know how you are able to keep up with all the meetings you have and your front page stories, without anyone seeing you sweat. You have become such a tenacious reporter in the past year. I can’t wait to see what you will devote your energy to next.

Jacqueline – I can’t decide which family member I would compare you to if I were to make a Hatchet family metaphor for all of us. We are peers that are both graduating and leaving The Hatchet together, but I am also tempted to relate you to my Hatchet mom. You edited and guided every story and blog that I’ve done in the past two years. I’ve tried to impress you with story ideas in budgeting meetings for two years. We’ve been through administrators stepping down, Student Association election fiascos and rabbi drama together. It has been a hell of a ride. I know at times I have not made your job the easiest, but you stuck through and always pulled our stories together. I still can’t believe we got through all this. Though I probably won’t see your name in Google Docs anymore, I hope that I will still see you around in person once we are both officially irrelevant to The Hatchet.

Jake – I don’t need to tell you that you have a great beard. Anyone who looks at your Snapchat story can tell that you know that. You also know that you are too much for some people to handle and that doesn’t bother you. I have always admired how you live your life without worrying about how other people think of you and not censoring any of your thoughts. Though it can get annoying at some points, I’m glad that I became close enough to see more of you besides your loud personality. You always honor your commitments and you are always on time. You speak up in class and you put a lot of effort into your work, whether it’s a Hatchet video or a paper. I enjoy that you always give me a hug when you run into me on the street and keep my secrets when I trust you with them. I have always thought that you have a secret heart of gold that people don’t notice right away, and I’m happy that I became close enough to you to appreciate that.

Jeanine – You are an example of how The Hatchet has introduced me to some of my closest friendships. I remember when I first met you, and I thought you were this glamorous mysterious person – and then got to know you better and realized that you are just as glamorous up close. Thank you for enticing me to live with you by getting me that really nice bathroom rug that I’ve become far too acquainted with and letting me wear your clothes when we lived together. I can’t say what my Hatchet experience would have been if you weren’t there, but it would not have been nearly as fun. Thank you for being my friend and for occasionally inspiring me to eat some vegetables.

Liz – Though I would never have expected you to leave the metro team for another section, I must say that I think you found your place on staff. I am so happy that you were placed in metro news when you were accepted into The Hatchet. You were my star reporter and helped me out when I needed someone to take a story at the last minute. You excelled at every opportunity you were presented, and I am so happy that I got to keep you on metro as long as I did. Keep being the star that you are.

Cort – Your existence makes me very happy. When I first met you, I saw you that you were very well dressed and have perfectly placed hair – and I did not trust you. When Avery and I had our combined meeting that one time and I met the famed Cort Carlson, Reporting Live for the first time,  I thought there is no way someone could live up to how Avery talked about you. Thank you for letting me experience your quirkiness in person. You have lived up to the hype.

Mark – I hear other people saying that you only talk to them when you’re drunk…And that makes me feel special because I got to know you sober and in every form of inebriation. I’m happy that I’ve gotten to know sober Mark who drives me to polling places for our political reporting class and also drunk Mark who offers me his shoes when I can’t walk in high heels on my 21st birthday (allegedly – do either of us remember that?). I don’t know how we managed to get through our classes together over the years, especially since we are both usually equally as confused, but it looks like we are going to make it. Thanks for having your priorities straight and for managing to make doing work fun.

Justine – You are the only person I would trust to take over the metro section after me. Not only are you one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever worked with, you have the very important quality of being from the Lehigh Valley (though that has nothing to do with anything except my satisfaction). You have already accomplished much more than I have ever done for the metro section in this past semester, and I can’t wait to see what you will do for the section in the next volume. Since I know you are one of the most humble people I have ever met, I want you to know that I am so impressed with you and that I am confident that you will keep up the energy and break even more front page stories than I did. At any rate, I hope you will still keep me in the loop for all the crazy metro news that come up in the next year. I’ll always be proud of you!

Tyler and And – Please don’t be offended that I am putting you two together here. You both have affected me in different ways in the past year and made me smile more times than I can count. Thank you for being my emotional support pets, listening to me and putting up with me petting your face and hair. I promise I do not think of you as dogs, but I do have affection for both of you like I would a set of puppies. In all seriousness, you two might be the only members of the male population that I sincerely trust, so congratulations on that. And: I always tell the story of the first assignment you took from me, when I couldn’t find any other reporters to cover an ANC meeting. I noticed early on that you are incredibly insightful and a fast learner, and I always have been impressed with your drive at The Hatchet. You know I will never fully forgive you for going abroad for one semester and leaving me, but I consider us about even after you put up with me this whole semester. I might be especially aggressive to you sometimes, but I hope you know that you really couldn’t do anything to make me upset, even if you tried. I watched you open up to us all since you first joined the news team and I am glad that we get to see the inner And that we know today. You’re definitely going to have some challenges ahead as the News Dad, but I know will get the news team through it because you always seem to know what’s right. I don’t have to tell you to make sure you get your work done, but I do want to remind you that you have to go to sleep at a decent hour and set aside some time for fun between editing stories. Tyler: When I told you that I couldn’t think of any negative qualities for you, I meant it. You are always cheerful and willing to drop everything to help out a friend. I always enjoy how you are always there for everyone, whether it’s Victoria needing help with her resume or it’s me with a broken living room light. I know that I can rely on you to trek all the way from the Vern every day just to pretend to do work at the townhouse with me or run to Chick-fil-A for the second time of the day. Thank you for reminding me that I always have a friend.

Avery – I hope you never move too far away. (Read: You better actually be coming back to D.C. at the end of the summer). Not only have we grown closer from our classes together or from walking home to our nearby apartments this year, I’m glad that I get the chance to hear more of your ridiculous puns every day. I enjoy your dad jokes and absurd nicknames for every campus location you frequent. I’ve always been jealous of how productive you are as a person, since I know I will never be as on top of things as you are every day. Thank you for always allowing me to be myself around you and for planning fun adventures that I would never think of organizing myself.

Victoria – When I first noticed your name on a Hatchet byline, to be honest, I did not like you. I think I was jealous that you took a blog I wanted to do when we were both reporters… and look how far we have come since then. I have never met someone who is as likely to be napping as I am at any given moment – or someone who can finish every story I have about my obscure boyfriends from high school and knows how I got almost every article of clothing I own. Your culturally relevant takes and love of memes have kept me entertained over the years and your presence repeatedly reminds me that I’m going to be okay, especially when I can’t seem to convince myself of that. You were my original consolation on staff, the person who originally convinced me that I wasn’t the only one awake and on my computer every night. Our first semester as editors who spent all our time in the townhouse saved me from pretty dark times that I would have otherwise spent alone, so thank you for being there for me. Also, thank you for being the only person I know who is as suspicious and untrusting as I am; it’s a relief to know that I am not the only crazy one.

Lillianna – You have been here with me through my hardest times. You were there those late nights in the townhouse when we both needed to finish our stories, you were there with me as a date to outdoor movies and you were always eager to take a selfie with me no matter how happy or miserable we were. You are the only one I trust to tell me whether I look good in a photo – and to help me pick out an outfit for any event. I trust you knowing my deepest insecurities, my most embarrassing moments and my darkest secrets. Truthfully, I don’t know where I would be right now if it weren’t for you. You have been my friend even when I think I don’t have any friends. I stick by my claim that I knew you would be EIC before you even decided to run, and I knew you would be great at it. I can’t wait to read The Hatchet under you and to see where this year will take you. Keep killing it in Vol. 114. And don’t forget about me when I’m gone.

Princess fam – You guys have been such champs in dealing with me since I joined The Hatchet. You put up with me being late or even not showing up to events so that I could work on my stories. I’ve missed so many brunches or weekly dinners because of Prodo, and you guys only minimally complained. Thank you for accepting my way of life and for not making me feel too bad about doing Hatchet work every day.

Allentown fam – Sorry that I never call you back right away and, when I do, that I dominate most of our conversations about either my financial situation or Mushu. Thank you for understanding that my work leaves me with little free time, which explains why I become a bedridden slug whenever I come home. You have always been my biggest fan in school and work and though I almost never remember to call/email/text you back, you always support me even when I don’t deserve it. I love you.

All my enemies – I would like to thank you for showing me who my real friends are, if only through contrast. I may put more of an emphasis of your existence than other people might think is healthy, but I stand by my grudges because I don’t have time for people who aren’t there for me.


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