Lillian Bautista: Learning to love the craft

Media Credit: Arielle Bader | Assistant 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.

If there is one thing I learned from The GW Hatchet, it is to love the art of storytelling in journalism. From my first published assignment as a freshman covering a Chinese Culture Fest hosted by a student organization to my first experience covering protests, I learned how to navigate the complexities of capturing a moment and translating it into a tangible insight for the reader.

Lillian Bautista | Senior Photo Editor

The work of a student newspaper may seem small in comparison to the media that tackles issues for a national audience, but The Hatchet offered a glimpse into this world for me. It’s not uncommon for the policy disputes inside the halls of the U.S. Capitol or the agendas set in the White House to spill over into coverage for the GW community.

In December 2017, I had the privilege of photographing students advocating for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) by staging a “die-in” at a Republican senator’s office. The aftermath of the protest found five students arrested, an event which I was able to document in real time.

Lillian Bautista | Senior Photo Editor

It was not all politics, however. Local events around D.C. gave me the chance to explore the city and enjoy its rich culture. I saw its music scene.

Lillian Bautista | Senior Photo Editor

Its nightlife.

Lillian Bautista | Senior Photo Editor

Its pride and spirit.

Lillian Bautista | Senior Photo Editor

But most of all, I saw the power of the people in D.C. – those who live here, work here and come here to make their voices heard. I was honored to watch history as protesters organized to demand racial justice,

Lillian Bautista | Senior Photo Editor

And citizens rallied for their prospective candidates

Lillian Bautista | Senior Photo Editor

And country.

Lillian Bautista | Senior Photo Editor

All of these experiences reaffirmed my belief in the value of journalism and the power of elevating the voices of people. Of course, none of this would be possible without the people in The Hatchet itself. Diving headfirst into breaking news, story guides and late nights in the townhouse, the staff of The Hatchet are incredibly dedicated to the craft, and I owe it to them for my growth as both a storyteller and person. I was not sold on the notion of working in journalism as I entered college, but I am leaving with the firm belief that this is what I want to do, and it is in part because of the laughs and tears shed with my friends here.

Arielle: You have taken on many roles during my tenure at The Hatchet. You’ve been senior photo editor yourself, my friend, my roommate and my confidant. You quite literally taught me everything I know about this position, but you are the whole reason I started in the first place. Thank you for your empathy, impeccable editorial judgement and mutual love of bad television, like “The Bachelor.”

Team Photo: Thank you, Grace, for your calm demeanor amidst the chaos of becoming the news photo editor during a pandemic. It was a difficult role to fill, but you did so with precision. Organized, professional and reliable, I know you will absolutely kill it as the next senior photo editor. Sophia, thank you for laughing at my bad jokes and really picking up the slack when few were left on campus to help, excited to see you move up to culture. Camille and Sabrina, while the two of you are talented photographers, I was happy to see you both succeed as editors as well. Danielle and Sophie, I know you all are ready for the challenge of leading photo too. Good luck to you all and much love from your favorite (dealer’s choice) senior photo editor!

Sarah: O Captain, my Captain. You are one of the hardest workers I have ever met. The effort you have put into the paper does not go unnoticed. I look up to your composure under pressure and grace as you commanded the varying sections, especially during the transition to the virtual environment. I look up to you as a leader and a kind soul who really enjoys buying Panera for others.

Lizzie: Where would I be without you? A great friend and an even better copy editor, I am going to miss your threats to fire me. Most people do not want to use an AP Stylebook as a prop for photos, but you are not most people. You are an excellent reporter, wonderful study buddy and overall kind, caring individual. I cannot wait to see where you go.

Pages Check Crew: Jared, Olivia and Parth. There is nothing I love more than staying up till 1 a.m. to look at a PDF of a paper, which will not get physically published. At the very least, you all made me laugh and individually impressed me with your editorial skills, design creativity and whatever thing Parth does. We will not get to experience Sarah mispronouncing every third word again, but I will always remember the delirium brought on by those late nights fondly. On a serious note, you are some of the most intelligent people I know, and I am proud to work with you all.

Hannah: Although our paths never crossed in WordPress or meetings, I am so lucky and grateful to have met you. You were first a charming peer (though questionable videographer) then an admirable colleague, witty and charismatic friend to now undoubtedly one of the most important people in my life. I am impressed day in and day out by your talent as a writer, tenacity as head of opinions and overall dedication to everything you do. I know this is just the beginning of what is to come. I love you with my whole being.

Honorable mentions: To the people that made The Hatchet a better paper, with more stories to tell. Emily Maise (MVP), Lia DeGroot, Zach Schonfeld, Sidney Lee, Aaron Kovacs, Sarah Urtz, Alexander Welling, Zach Brien, Eric Lee, Keegan Mullen, Sam Hardgrove and Graeme Sloan.

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