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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Auden Yurman: From behind the camera

Florence Shen | 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.

I can say with complete confidence that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write for The Hatchet. (To be fair, it’s also the only thing I’ve ever written for The Hatchet.) This paper has become such a fundamental part of my life that it’s hard for me to step back and reflect, to think about what I’ve learned or why I’ve even stuck around.

Being part of The Hatchet has not always been easy. Anyone who knows me has heard me complain about it. Every single one of my friends has listened to me whine and grumble and threaten to quit, and then watched as I picked up my camera or walked to the townhouse and done the work anyway. The Hatchet has been a constant source of stress in my college experience, kept me up until 8 a.m. on Sunday nights and forced me to navigate more than a few tough situations.

And even so, being part of The Hatchet is something I haven’t been able to give up on. In every stressful, painful or difficult moment, there is always the paper, and more importantly, its weird and wonderful staff. In the worst moments, I’ve been able to look around and remember that this paper is so much bigger than myself. There’s a reason so many of us stick around. It means something that so many of us love this paper so much, enough to try and figure out how to make it better. 

My first idea for my 30 title was: “It’s not that serious.” Honestly, I stand by it. We are, at the end of the day, a student newspaper, and that means that there are times when we all would benefit from taking a deep breath, stepping back and chilling out. The Hatchet can and should be fun. Sometimes, it really isn’t that serious — you can go finish your assignment or take a nap. You can publish the occasional mediocre photo without ruining the paper. You can make a mistake and not beat yourself up over it. You can let something slip through the cracks if it means you get a little more time and energy to take care of yourself. Sometimes things will feel like the end of the world, but they almost never are — the paper always keeps moving forward. 

But while I think that’s true, I also know that I’m surrounded by a lot of passionate, hard-working journalists, and the work we do is serious. I’ve seen this paper cover so many difficult stories with integrity, empathy and conscientious diligence. I’ve witnessed long conversations on how to navigate complex issues, what stories to tell and how best to tell them. It’s hard, and we don’t always get it right, but I’ve watched as time after time, the people around me push each other to be better, to make this paper better with every story we tell. And I’m grateful — not just for the chance to take photos or help tell important stories, but to be part of a community that cares so much about its work and its people. 

Good and bad, The Hatchet has become a fundamental part of who I am. I’m not planning on pursuing journalism, but I don’t regret the time I’ve spent here. I’ve showed up, week after week. I’ve been part of something I’ll always be proud of. I’ve made friends I’m planning on keeping after graduation, beyond the walls of the townhouse. I’m forever grateful to this publication and every person I’ve crossed paths with during my time here. I’ll never have enough time or space to express my gratitude to everyone who deserves it. 

To everyone I’ve known along the way:

Izzy: I’m writing this while sitting next to you in the basement, and that’s almost too perfect of a way to sum up the time we’ve spent on this paper together. I don’t think I possibly have the words to express my love and gratitude for you, and for the many hours we’ve spent exactly like this — in the moldy little basement with its broken chairs and mysterious noises — but I’ll try anyway. I was terrified when I first became senior photo editor, not just because I had no idea what I was doing, but also because I was afraid I’d be doing it alone, that I was committing to spending Sunday nights in the corner of the basement without anyone I knew or could talk to. And then you and I decided to go to prom together, and I started to feel like I might come out of this with some friends after all. After an inordinate amount of late nights and early mornings sitting next to you in the basement — and the newsroom — I feel so unbelievably grateful to call you a friend. You are so good at what you do, and I’m always amazed at your patience and ability to make the paper look good despite everything that gets thrown your way, even when it’s late and we both just really want to go home. Here’s to getting drunk and gossiping, “Pitch Perfect” movie marathons and the best crosswords The Hatchet has ever seen. I couldn’t have asked for a better basement (and hot seat) partner, crossword collaborator or friend. 

Florence Shen | Assistant Photo Editor

Jaden: Well, I wrote Izzy’s section while we were in the basement, and I’m writing yours while we’re sitting in the second floor of the townhouse at 7 a.m. after one last all-night prodo. I’m having trouble putting everything I want to say into words — which, admittedly, might be in part due to the fact that it’s 7 a.m. and we’re still in the townhouse. But of course we’re still in the townhouse, because where else would we be, and how is this ever supposed to end? I would not have made it this long on the paper without you. I think I’ve texted you more than I’ve texted anyone else here, and I hope you know how grateful I am that you let me send you all my Hatchet grievances and always back me up when I’m complaining about something or someone. The amount of time, energy and care you put into this paper is sometimes unbelievable (you’re better than me) but it really does show, not only through your work but also through the relationships you’ve built on staff. Despite the occasional photo-related disagreement, you’re one of my favorite people to work with, and I appreciate your help with photo and your advocacy to get the crossword in print almost as much as I appreciate your friendship and support. Your constant humor and commentary on all things Hatchet and Hatchet staff are essential to my getting through late night prodos. Between Hatchet, class and gossip sessions at Mission (and everywhere else), I am so truly and genuinely grateful that I get to call you my friend. 

Grace M.: You were one of the first people Grace Hromin introduced me to when I started spending time in the basement, and I owe her big time for that. We had a class together at the time, and I remember worrying that you might not recognize me from The Hatchet and it would be super awkward if I said hi. (You did recognize me, and it wasn’t awkward. I was just being dramatic.) I was so excited for you to step up to management this past year, and even though I know it hasn’t always been how you wanted it, you’ve navigated a new position with the same care and passion you always brought to design, and your humor, creativity and kindness is evident every time you step foot in the townhouse. I don’t think there’s anything you can’t do. The energy you bring to this paper is singular; there’s no one better to have stuck around for the last four years. Last year, I always looked forward to hanging out with you on Sundays. This year, I’m so grateful that we hang out on other days, too. You’re one of my favorite people to gossip with (if I know anything about this paper, it’s that there’s always something to gossip about) and both you and your baked goods have been a genuine lifesaver on some late prodo nights. 

Zach: You might not remember this, and honestly I barely do, but you asked me last year at prom if I thought you’d be a good EIC. I hope I said yes, because I believed it then and I know it now. You have stepped into this unexpected role with such natural grace, passion and dedication, even despite quite a few challenges along the way. I’m grateful for the attention and care you’ve given the photo section, and it’s been such a genuine joy to watch you grow as a leader throughout this past year. From taking our Campaigns and Elections final together in the Gelman basement (terrible) to a million late night prodos (exhausting, rewarding, delirious, entertaining), I’ve witnessed your chaos, talent and determination firsthand, and I can’t wait to see what you do next. I also can’t believe that after all this time, I still never got you to come to a single Greek club event. But I guess I’ll let it slide.

Nick P.: I’ve accidently started saying things like “This is why we suit up” and “Let them cook” in my non-Hatchet, day-to-day life, and I blame you (and Zach) for that. Just thought you should know. You, and all your various expressions, bring a positivity and level headedness to the table that I know from experience has helped get us through every and all bumps in the road. You’re constantly pushing the paper and all of us to be better, and you manage to ask for more while simultaneously being one of the most genuine and empathetic people on this staff. I know we are all better off because of your talent, dedication and support. I hope you know how much I appreciate the energy you put into the visual sections of this paper, and I always love when one of your visions successfully comes to life. (I also appreciate all your crossword support!) Your passion (haha) for all that you do and constant good humor has made every Sunday night a little better, and I’m so excited for whatever comes your way next. 

Amanda: The one and only! You have been such an important part of my time at The Hatchet, and I’ve missed getting to see you every Sunday. You brought an energy to this paper that no one will ever be able to replicate, and I’ll forever be grateful for our basement gossip sessions, Hatchet party antics and all the many times I ran into you at Jumbo Slice. 

Team Photo: I feel very lucky to have crossed paths with so many talented photographers over the past few years. I’m so grateful for the many photo editors I’ve gotten to work with, and I can’t wait to see what everyone does next. Grace H.: I quite literally wouldn’t be here without you. You welcomed me onto staff with open arms and helped me step into a much bigger role when I had no idea what I was doing. Thank you for asking me to join staff in the first place, even if it was just because I was the only photographer who ever showed up to meetings. Thank you for telling me that I didn’t have to agree to become Senior Photo Editor, even though no one else was going to do it. Thank you for answering all my various frantic texts, even when you were done and definitely over it all. I’m so thankful for all of your support and proud to have carried on the history major Senior Photo Editor tradition. Danielle: I feel like I really have you to thank for my Hatchet career — I was so sure you were going to be Senior Photo Editor for Volume 119, and when Grace told me that you weren’t, I immediately panicked. And even though I know you were probably ready to be done right then and there, I can’t express how grateful I am that you stuck around through the next volume anyway. I appreciated your talent and creative eye almost as much as I appreciated your friendship and support. Sage: I can’t wait to see what you do with the photo section next year. You’re so talented, and it’s been great to see you grow as a photographer, editor and leader over the past year. Jordyn, Jordan and Florence: You are all such talented photographers and editors, and I could not have asked for a better team this past year. Thank you for all your hard work and the effort and talent you all put into this section. I can’t wait to see what you all do at The Hatchet next year and in your careers beyond! Lexi, Daniel and Kaiden: It’s been such a joy to see your work as photographers, and I’m so glad you all joined staff. I’m so excited to see where you take the section from here.

Nicholas: You are one of the smartest, funniest, kindest and weirdest people I’ve ever met and I’m so glad I did. I’m constantly in awe of your talent and intelligence — your ability to turn a bunch of numbers into beautiful and comprehensible graphics is something I will never be able to understand, but I’ve loved watching you make the magic happen. When you stepped into a new role this year, I was so proud to see your well-deserved ascent and also sad to see you leave the basement gang. Luckily, we got the best of both worlds, and you’ve taken on your new position with dedication, kindness and care, while still sticking around on many a Sunday night. I can’t wait to watch you become hugely successful (as you deserve) and get to think back on the times I’ve seen you swing the golden hatchet in defense of New Jersey or sing inappropriate songs in a Kermit the Frog impression. 

Grace C.: I think I could’ve predicted that you would become EIC from the moment I met you, when you came down to the basement as incoming SNE and it was immediately clear to me that you are nothing if not a force of nature. Through many a late night prodo, I’ve gotten to witness your passion for your work and ability to stand your ground, your constant empathy and persistent humor — and of course, lots and lots of singing. I am all at once awed by and terrified of you, and I can’t wait to watch The Hatchet (and its multimedia sections) flourish under your leadership. Sorry to my previous editors, but you’re the coolest EIC this paper has seen in a while. 

Cristina: After meeting Jaden, I thought I’d never meet anyone with stronger opinions on niche copy rules and the nerve it takes to stand your ground in late night arguments. I was wrong, and I’m glad I was. You are so dedicated, kind and funny — not to mention so good at what you do — and it’s evident in all your work and every conversation you have. It has been such a genuine joy to watch you grow as an editor and a leader, and I’m so excited for you to thrive on management in this next volume. The paper is in such good hands. 

Shea: While I truly hope you’re having a blast abroad, I’m also so sad that you’re gone for the end of my time at The Hatchet. I’ve missed catching up with you before staff meetings and hanging out on Sunday nights. You bring such a bright energy to the basement, and I can’t wait to see what you do next, after your triumphant return to the States. 

Isha: I’m forever grateful for the kindness you showed me when I first started staying for prodo nights. Thank you for answering my panicked texts and helping me figure out what I was doing at any given time. You were one of the first people who made me feel welcome in a new and slightly terrifying space, and I wouldn’t have grown to love this paper as much as I do without your kindness. 

Jarrod: I was always planning on going abroad in college. That whole plan changed on a Facetime call with you, when I told you that I was considering going abroad, and you asked me to maybe not do that, and to stay and become Senior Photo Editor instead. I was terrified to take on the role, and even more so when the photo section started off Volume 119 with something of a crisis. Your level headedness, dedication and humor made it easy to follow your lead, and we made it through every bump in the road with a stronger photo section to show for it at the end.

My parents: Thank you for making me a nepo baby. Sorry for all the random journalism questions over the past few years. 

My friends: Thank you for working around my Sunday schedule to still hang out with me, and for listening to endless gossip about people you’ve never met. My roommates: Thank you for letting me host Hatchet parties, reluctantly posing for my photo illustrations and never locking me out of the apartment on Sunday nights. Anna, you’ve been with me during some of both the best and worst moments of my time on The Hatchet, and I’m beyond thankful that you’re in my life. Thank you for leaving the light on for me to come home to. 

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