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.
After being around for 119 years, The Hatchet is a bit of a mess. It’s old fashioned, disorganized, chaotic, and a little stuck in its ways.
But it’s also a historic institution that I’m proud to be a part of, that every year manages to train a new class of reporters and editors how to do their jobs of holding people and institutions accountable – at GW, and beyond.
If you ever knew me during my time at The Hatchet, you’ve probably heard me threaten to quit at least once. Year after year as my responsibilities at this paper grew and my burnout increased accordingly, I questioned what was keeping me here, and whether it would be worth staying. And honestly, the jury is still out on that last one.
But finally after three and a half years, I figured out what’s kept me here. It’s the possibility of making it better.
The Hatchet has been such a constant presence in my life since I got to GW, being there as I contended with the pandemic that completely upturned my college experience and also being there as I recovered from it. As The Hatchet has seen me through my best and worst moments, the opposite is also true, as I witnessed moments where the paper’s old-fashioned nature held us back from achieving our full potential, but also moments where our storied past and long-standing traditions helped propel us forward.
Whether it’s building up on source relationships that we thought were long past fixing, sitting down with my fellow editors to consider how we handle matters related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, or even just decorating the newsroom, I think it’s safe to say my time here has been marked by the expectation that we can and will be better. I’ve demanded so much from this institution not only because of the countless hours I’ve put into it, but also because I know it can be better. And it has.
That project has been one of the greatest privileges I could have had during my undergraduate years, and I know I will cherish it greatly. The Hatchet has made me who I am today, and I am endlessly grateful for that.
Here’s to the people who helped me get where I am today.
To any source who has ever taken the time to speak with me during my 3.5 years at The Hatchet: Thank you all. I’ve always thought that if I was a professor or administrator at GW, I might be more reluctant to set aside time from my day to talk to these pesky student journalists who won’t stop emailing me. I hope you all know that I have taken every phone call, email exchange, and text conversation as seriously as possible, and I am honored that you all have trusted me enough to listen to what you have to say and translate it fairly into a story. A special shout out to Professors Griesshamer, Orti, Khilji, Gryanviski, Cordes, Cohen-Cole, and Wagner for trusting me and taking The Hatchet’s work seriously. Our paper and this University is better for it.
To people I’ve worked with in the past:
Sarah Roach: I don’t know if you realize the legacy you left on this paper. We still talk about your work at The Hatchet, all these years later. I’m grateful to have had you as a role model for two years in a row, and I was lucky to witness your leadership in action.
Lia DeGroot: Ever since I joined the Hatchet I found you intimidating, all the way back to your metro editor days. But I admire how you led our team during such a tumultuous year. I don’t think anyone can truly understand what it’s like to run this paper until you’re actually in the position of doing it, and the time I spent being involved in that effort gave me a much greater appreciation for the work that you did.
Jared Gans: I think I’ve known you the longest I’ve known anyone at this paper, which is so crazy to think about now. I never would’ve thought that my editor from that student org I wasn’t really sure about joining during freshman year would quickly become such a constant and welcome presence in my life. You have no idea how much I appreciated having someone I could trust to talk to any time things were going wrong – given just how often that happened – especially as I was coming back to school and Hatchet in person this past year. Please know that the paper you left behind remembers you very, very fondly. And The Hatchet historian job is always open if you want it!
Zach Schonfeld: Every year I tried to understand it and every year I came up short – I have absolutely no idea how you do what you do. Every time I moved up at The Hatchet to fill a position you used to hold, I stressed about filling such big shoes. I’ve learned so much after working with you all this time, and I genuinely admire how much you commit yourself to the things that you do but still find humor in your work. The Zach lore is complex and never ending, but it’s been an honor to have worked together for two years.
Tiffany Garcia: I’m so glad you came back to staff for your last semester, it was such a joy to have you around in the townhouse and have someone to talk to who understands just how much work we have on our plate. I think any of us who reported on GW during the peak of the pandemic has been bonded for life, and the more time I’ve spent at the paper the more I’ve seen how much of a legacy you left in your beat and at this organization. Please keep in touch.
Yankun Zhao: We’ve come a long way from the first time we met at reporter training freshman year! We joke that you’re one of the only people who have ever successfully left The Hatchet, but I’m not sure you can really ever leave. I remember constantly being impressed with the work you appeared to do so effortlessly when we were on the news team together, and I’m so excited to see where this life takes you.
To this year’s staff:
To Lauren Sforza and Jarrod Wardwell: I have to start with you two. After all we’ve had to deal with since literally day one of volume 119, it’s hard for me to believe that my time working with you both has come to a close. It’s been an honor to have worked with you.
Lauren: My Hatchet sister, I’m sad it took us until late fall/early spring last year to really get close but I’m so glad to have had someone whose Hatchet journey aligns almost exactly with mine, and I know I definitely wouldn’t still be here without you. I remember going to my first SA meeting with you and just being blown away by the confidence you had and the trust you had with your sources. I left that meeting thinking I needed to be more like you, and I stand by that today. Your journalistic instincts are truly unmatched and the dedication you have to everything you do never fails to impress me. I mean it when I say I know your kindness and thoughtfulness will take you far in your life, and I truly cannot wait to see where that is.
Jarrod Wardwell: Our time together at The Hatchet has looked so different each year, but over the years I have really come to respect and admire your work ethic. You respond to every panicked phone call/text/crisis with a steady hand and a level head, which is more than I can say for myself. And the sheer grit you have when it comes to getting your job done regardless of whatever else is going on has absolutely blown me away, especially this year. A year ago today the two of us had a decision to make, and even though that time last year was riddled with uncertainty and doubt, I can confidently say now that we made the right choice. I am relieved knowing that this paper is in your hands and will live to see another day because of you.
Abrigail Williams: Your position this year was brand new, but the way you’ve helped grow and develop the role has been impressive. It’s been such a relief to know we can count on you amidst everything we’ve had to deal with this year, and I’m so glad you’ll be around next semester to hold down the fort.
Zach Blackburn: I don’t know if I expected the two of us to get along based on my first impression of your Twitter presence during spring 2021, but I’m happy I was wrong. The chaotic but positive energy you have brought to this paper has been much appreciated and very welcome, and on top of that I’ve also gotten to witness you grow and evolve as a writer, an editor, and a leader. You have a natural talent for writing that took me years to work to build up. I hope you continue to take advantage of that. Please please find time to get some sleep these next couple months and keep me in the loop about your antics when I’m gone, both at the paper and outside of it.
Nick Pasion: It feels like I’ve known you forever even though it’s really only been more than a year. I’ve long admired the compassion and empathy you take with you in all the work that you do along with your willingness to learn, whether we were talking to dozens of students about mold or sitting in hours-long Faculty Senate meetings. Burnout sucks, and especially after spending time on The Hatchet it’s no stranger to us. I hope you’re able to put yourself first and take a break every now and then, and I’m always here if you need to vent. I’m counting on you to spearhead the cause of making The Hatchet cheeky again (your words). And I’m expecting updates.
Jaden DiMauro: The more that we’ve worked together this year, the more I’ve been impressed by the sheer energy and optimism you have when it comes to The Hatchet. You’re passionate, excited, and have big goals, and I hope for the paper’s sake that they all come true. Being managing editor is a strange, undefined, and often confusing job (peep the oxford comma) that usually is what you make it, but I know that you’re going to do big things here. Please know I’m always always here if you need advice or just want to talk things through.
Ishani Chettri and Nuria Diaz: My very first reporters! Ever since you two first started taking stories for me during Covid, I’ve been so protective over you. I never told you two this, but back when I met you both on Zoom for the first time I knew instantly that you would get along, so I planned my stories and made up excuses so that you two would always be working together. It’s been such a joy to see your friendship blossom and witness your skills grow and evolve over the years. Nuria, you are a force to be reckoned with. The way you have led the sports section over the past year has been such an honor to watch, and it almost makes me glad that you ended up in sports and not news. (The key word there is almost). Ishani, you have a massively underappreciated job at The Hatchet, and just knowing that you’ve been around this year to help out with web-related issues has been such a relief. I’m so glad you’re still involved with The Hatchet even though you’re not writing anymore, because it means we still get to see you once a week. Please keep in touch, the both of you.
Abby Kennedy: Abby, you are such a light in the townhouse. You instantly bring positivity with you wherever you go, regardless of what’s going on or what you’re dealing with. Student life can be a tough beat, but I watched you grow and evolve over the past year and I’m so glad you’re sticking around here. Please let me know if you ever need anything – advice, gossip, or a rewatch of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. You’re going to kill it this year.
Amanda Plocharski: I can’t believe how much our lives have changed since we first met at Hatchet holiday literally freshman year. Video is such an underappreciated section, but every hour I spend editing in the SMPA lab for class projects makes me even more impressed by how you put out video projects like the ones I spend months on every single week, without fail. And not only that, you do so with such optimism and excitement. I’m so excited to see what you do with not only your section but the rest of your life. I hope we keep in touch.
Clara Duhon: I have long been simultaneously impressed by and jealous of the stunning work that culture puts out, and how you’ve done so the past two years with grace and care. Culture as a section has so much potential, potential that I’ve seen you realize in ways not many others can. There’s a creativity and thoughtfulness that it takes to be leading this section that I wish I had the opportunity to practice more during all that time I spent on news. I can’t wait to see where this life takes you!
Nicholas Anastacio and Isabella McKinnon: Team design/graphics! You both have such stressful jobs, dealing with last-minute changes to stories and to the physical paper, but you handle it so carefully and so thoughtfully. Since we’ve worked together more closely this volume I’ve consistently been impressed with how you both are able to do what you do every week, and I’m excited to see how the rest of the year goes for you.
Auden Yurman: For as long as I was a news editor I always felt bad for but also impressed by the photo section. Dealing with the news team and its constant story changes, angle changes, and sometimes-unreasonable asks for the photo team requires a patience that I know I don’t have. You have such a quiet-yet-calm presence in the basement, and we’ve appreciated your reliability and consistency more than you know.
To the news team: y’all have a special place in my heart. Especially after being on the news team for two years, I know the amount of work and sacrifices you put in to put out your stories each week. Please know that it has not gone unnoticed – I’ve been such a fan of vol. 119 news ever since the first day you all stepped into your jobs. And to the five of you who were one of my reporters in some capacity last year, I’m particularly honored that you chose to stick around at the paper despite how chaotic my beat was last year.
Nikki Ghaemi: I remember when I first met you I thought you reminded me so much of myself when I was a new reporter – but I’ve since learned that you’re actually much more confident and ambitious. Don’t lose that. Also, I’m passing on the weather section advocacy to you. Please don’t let me down!
Caitlin Kitson: I have constantly been blown away by the sheer grit and level headedness that you take with you in everything you do – it’s more than I can say for myself when I was in your position. The academics beat has a special place in my heart, and I’m honored that you’re the one who has followed in my footsteps in taking it over.
Grace Chinowsky: you’re bold and unapologetic, and I’ve seen how it’s served you well during your time as an editor. Don’t let anything take that away from you, and know that all your editors are here for you if you ever need literally anything – myself included.
Faith Wardwell: It takes a special type of person to be the student life editor, and you embody it so deeply. It’s been such a joy to watch you and the beat grow this year as we’ve settled more into being back in person, and I’m truly excited to see where it goes.
Sophia Goedert: You also remind me of myself when I was a news editor. And you’re strong in more ways than you know. Remember to rely on your teammates and your editors or take some time for yourself when you need it. This job will never be worth it if you lose yourself in the midst of it.
Erika Filter: Anyone who can handle covering the SA is someone who has automatically earned my respect. You’ve done so this past semester with grace and dedication, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of your year goes.
Ianne Salvosa: Ditto for anyone covering admin, you both are forces to be reckoned with. People know I’m very protective of my old beats (and reporters) and I couldn’t be prouder that you’re spearheading coverage in such a complex and tough-to-learn beat. Know that I’m always here if you need to vent, ask questions, or want advice.
Henry Huvos: It’s been a pleasure to witness your work grow and evolve during your time on The Hatchet. I’ve long appreciated the sense of humor you’re able to maintain as you contend with even the toughest stories – and I appreciated it more than you know.
Tara Suter: It’s been so exciting to have you around on the news team for so long, and even more so to have a current senior on this year’s news team. I hope you help maintain some of our favorite news team traditions and I’m even more excited to see where your life takes you.
Shea and Cristina: Copy is such an important section that I didn’t appreciate enough until this year, and I think a lot of us have taken it for granted because of how consistent and reliable the two of you are. You two have been holding down the fort for so long, I can’t imagine anyone else in your position. Though I know I could never do what you do, I’m so glad you two are around to argue about commas and other fun Hatchet style quirks. Please keep in touch – I’m excited to see where your Hatchet journey takes you!
To friends and family:
Anna, Calista, Grace, Julia, Kylie, Mallory, Prerna, Ruby, Shelby, and Sylvia: thank you for being constant supporters of my work at The Hatchet for the past four years. I always say that roommates of Hatchet staffers should have a support group for all the drama and complaining they must hear about over the years, and after having lived with basically all of you I’m sure you’ve all heard more than your fair share. I would not be where I am today without your endless support for my work. Every story you read, newspaper you picked up, or word of encouragement I’ve ever received from you has been appreciated and cherished more than you all know.
Mom, Dad, and Mushi: thank you all for being so supportive of all the time I spent working at The Hatchet, especially when I was doing it all from home and you had to hear me rant about the latest drama I was covering at our school. I wouldn’t still be here without that support.
This article appeared in the December 5, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.