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Erika Filter: Staying stubborn

Sage Russell | 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.

Stubbornness runs in my family.

In eighth grade, my dad, stubborn in his own right, encouraged me to pursue journalism. Time and again, I refused, despite my pronounced interest in writing. Despite this minor rebellion, my stubbornness turned the other way in college.

I first entered the Hatchet townhouse in my freshman year, about an hour early to a recruiting event and rain-drenched like I’d never known before. The Hatchet staff let me in, I asked a few questions, and left knowing it would become a central point of my life in college.

The job is hard. Coordinating 50-plus interviews in a matter of days, wrangling members of student government and thinking out stories for weeks on end has been a challenge. I honed stubbornness into a tool. Sending a third, fourth, fifth follow-up email, staking out protests under the beating sun for hours on end and wracking my brain for how to save a doomed story all became routine. I became familiar with the Hatchet stress dream.

Though I’ve threatened to quit many times throughout my years here, the grind has been worth it. The adrenaline of breaking news and the gratitude from sources after publishing a necessary story have kept me hooked on the weekly news cycle.

Some of the few people I’ve found more stubborn than me have been in the Hatchet townhouse. When I’ve been ready to give up on a story or I’m too nervous to physically approach a source in person, members of The Hatchet have always been there to push me forward. Through 3 a.m. selfies after a night of prodo and 2 p.m. slumps when it became clear a story wouldn’t run, I’m proud to have developed connections with all of you. Thank you for sticking it out.

Luke: This section should be at least twice as long. You’re the driving force behind some of my favorite college memories (can’t lie, also some of my worst). You never really got the hang of transcribing a Student Government Association meeting, but I think I can forgive you for it. I’m still surprised by how many things there are that remind me of you.

To previous staff:

Isha: Thank you for never gatekeeping any knowledge or opportunity you knew about. I was always so impressed by your stories, and Vol. 119 was frequently concerned for your well-being when we saw multiple front-page stories with your name on them. Alongside your rockstar tenure, you took risks on reporters like me without leaving us out to dry. I wouldn’t be here without you.

Sage Russell

Lauren: I don’t know that I matched your encyclopedic knowledge of the SA (now SGA). Even after you left, I could always rely on you to talk about the most recent presidential scandal or senate rumor. I look forward to continuing watching your name pop up in breaking articles.

Amanda: I think it was the right call not to join you as video editor (sorry), but I miss your absolutely infectious enthusiasm and immutable positivity in what is frequently an overlooked section. Thanks for believing in me so early on.

To this year’s staff:

Zach: Thanks for letting me steal your job(s). I’ve looked up to you since I was a reporter, and I’ve never been proven wrong. You have an unshakable nose for news, and I try to emulate your bravery when I have to chase after a police car or fire truck. You’re going somewhere big, and I’m excited to watch where you go through what I assume will be chaotic Tweets.

Nick: When I think about some of the hardest times I’ve gone through while on The Hatchet, I think of you. You’re a source of support when it matters (that’s not to say you aren’t a tough editor). You celebrate people’s wins with a wry smile, and you’ve revolutionized The Hatchet’s coverage and procedures during your time here. Thanks for helping me develop a love for local news and giving me someone to constantly compare myself to (in a good way).

Grace: You are a force of nature. I’m consistently impressed by the sheer level of work you’re able to take on, and even when it’s hard, you’re strong in your convictions. It’s not always easy to take a deep interest in a student newspaper, but you know the value it brings, and you’re not afraid to fight for it. The rest of us should consider ourselves lucky. You have an incredibly strong sense of justice, which is hard to find and boosts our staff and coverage alike. I know you’ll bring that heart and fighting spirit to the EIC desk, and I’ll be watching for the cutting-edge stories to come.

Ianne: I’ve appreciated our ironclad alliance over the last year. Admin is a monster of a beat, and you’ve handled it so well that I forget that it wasn’t even your first position on staff. It’s been so gratifying to watch you develop a love for financial reporting (which I’m sorry, but I still don’t understand). Get some rest, you’ve earned it.

Faith: I feel like we’ve become closer this year than we did when we were running reporter meetings together. You’re very dogged and set an example for what a student life editor should prioritize. I know you’ve been cooking in investigations this year on top of everything else. You’ll bring a clear head to management next year.

Eoighan: I’m so glad you joined the news team! I feel like you made Vol. 119 news with your unkillable optimism and sojourn to the VSTC. Wishing you the best post-grad!

Nikki: I’m so grateful we became friends through The Hatchet. Looking back, I’m not sure how either of us had the motivation to get down to Foggy Bottom for reporter meetings the entire time we lived on the Vern. You’re one of the most empathetic people I know, which shines through your coverage style.

Caitlin: I’m looking forward to you coming back as a culture editor! You’re such a thorough writer and down-to-earth person.

Lindsay: It’s tough to balance friendships with Hatchet, especially across sections. I’m grateful that was never a huge concern for me. Thanks for being willing to argue with me on copy edits I was definitely wrong about. I’m sorry for the number of times I canceled plans, checked my phone during hangouts or forced you to watch me do work.

Hannah: You’ve done a great job as student government editor this year. I’ve been so impressed by your willingness to jump into the fray and your creativity surrounding what can often be a restricting, straightforward beat. Keep up the drive, I’m excited to see where you take it.

Rory: I was so excited when I heard you were going to be my replacement. I really can’t think of anyone who would have been better. I have a huge amount of respect for the work you do as health and research editor, especially the professionalism you have with both sources and reporters. I’m jealous of the stories you get to have, a lot. I think you’re going to kill the metro beat next year.

Ella: I also can’t think of anyone who would be a better metro contributing editor. I’m so excited to see the work you do. You’re unfazed when things go south and always willing to put in the work. Keep it up, and you’ll be rewarded for it.

To my family: Thank you for reading my stories and understanding that you might not hear from me for a few days. I’m grateful for everything you’ve given me.

To my friends: I’m sorry for constantly canceling and making plans logistically difficult. I know it wasn’t easy, but I can’t thank you enough for sticking through it.

To any source who took the time to speak with me: Thank you.


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About the Contributor
Erika Filter, News Editor
Erika Filter is a senior majoring in international affairs from Carson City, Nevada. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2023-2024 news editors and previously served as the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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