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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Andrew Ramonas: 750 column inches later

10/20/05 = 0 and there I was at the back of a room somewhere in the Marvin Center. I was nervous. I clung to my pen and recently purchased CVS-brand notepad. My next three and half years were on the line.

GW Students Taking Action Now: Darfur was holding a meeting about how the University should divest funds from companies that do business with Sudan. This was my chance.

My editor Brandon Butler had assigned me a story on GW STAND to see if I had what it takes to make it at The Hatchet. I was glad to have my chance. Since I started my freshman year, I tried to get my foot in the door at 2140 G St. On Oct. 20, 2005, I could finally prove myself.

The article that was published in the newspaper the following Monday looked nothing like what I submitted. I was disheartened. But Butler still called me for another story. I was in.

This time, it was a story about the Student Association and how they were pushing for a student on the Board of Trustees. Soon, my beat was the SA.

Tuesdays were rough.

Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches - called 30 pieces - to reflect on their time at The Hatchet. Browse all.

Every Tuesday night, I was expected to write at least one story on the SA. I had to live the SA “lifestyle” as Butler would say. This meant sleeping after my Tuesday afternoon classes, going to the SA Senate meeting at 9 p.m., grabbing coffee at midnight and hunkering down to write a piece on the SA news of the day so it could be ready in time for the next Hatchet.

Living the “lifestyle,” however, was far more than school, sleep and The Hatchet. I was no longer an anonymous student. I wielded significant power.

Because of the Internet, what I wrote had the potential to have a significant impact on the futures of my sources – good or bad. I was playing in the big leagues and I had to be damn sure I was right.

This was made even clearer when I became the campus news editor and later senior news editor.

You are one of the last lines of defense when you are an editor. It was my responsibility to check all of the facts in a story before it went to print. This was often a daunting responsibility, but I owed it to the people we covered and our readers. I would spend hours editing and checking facts as an editor.

I learned some invaluable lessons as a Hatchet editor – like the correct Associated Press Style for Web site and what a slug is. I also learned that .docx is an evil invention by Microsoft to torture people who do not own the latest version of Word.

More importantly, however, I learned to balance my life. Although The Hatchet took up a good chunk of it, I did somehow manage to graduate cum laude a semester early with degrees in political science and journalism and still have a social life.

But my social life usually included The Fratchet – the unofficial Hatchet fraternity.

The Hatchet provided me with a group of friends I could have a good time with when there was not a looming deadline.

I was able to enjoy the pleasures of Ocean City, Md., 2 a.m. Zipcar rides to IHOP and whatever it is that collegians do on weekends. Like all good fraternities, The Hatchet has its secrets and traditions.

It was also a group of people that I could lean on during the tough times.

I am extremely grateful for the support and kindness I received from The Hatchet when I made the extraordinarily difficult decision for me to leave GW and The Hatchet a semester early.

Although I left The Hatchet earlier than I intended to, I do not regret my decision. The country is in the midst of one of the greatest economic crises since the Great Depression, and by graduating a semester early, I got a leg-up over my fellow classmates.

I am now happily employed as the Capitol Hill reporter for a new Web site called It is an exciting job where I am already reporting on the movers and shakers in Washington. Few journalism jobs out of college give you that opportunity.

I will be forever in debt to The Hatchet for getting me to where I am today. Here are only a few of the many people I owe.

Emily, you are a talented reporter. I am honored that you consider yourself to be my “protégé.”

Jennifer, you are one of the best writers I have seen at The Hatchet and I hope you come back to the newspaper when you get back from Spain.

Danielle, you are one of the most upbeat people I have ever known. You always helped put a smile on my face.

Sarah, you will soon take on a great responsibility. I know you have it in you to do great things next year.

Nat, you helped make my job a lot easier. There are not many people out there who are as committed and dedicated as you are.

Alexa, you are a tremendous person who willingly took on a great responsibility when I graduated. I will be forever grateful.

Jess, you gave me the confidence to really succeed. Thanks for being there for me.

Ceasar, you have been a great friend to me and have been a part of some of the best times I have had at The Hatchet.

Butler, you were my first mentor in journalism and I will be forever grateful for your encouragement and guidance during my first years at The Hatchet.

Roper, you were my first good friend at The Hatchet. I am glad I had the opportunity to work under you. You are going places.

Dad, Mom and Alex, thanks for giving this journalism thing a chance and encouraging me to pursue my dreams.

Andrea, you are a special and beautiful person. You make my life complete.

4/20/09 = 750 + 30 and here I am. –30–

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