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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Nick Pasion: Making a paper

Lily Speredelozzi | Senior Staff Photographer

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’m in love with The Hatchet. I’m exhausted by The Hatchet. I will always show up for The Hatchet.

The people who show up for The Hatchet care. Through all the chaos and critique, we want to make GW better. The reporters who are willing to get their work torn to shreds, the photographers who will hunt for the perfect frame, and the editors who build every story, graphic and page, inch by inch. We make a paper.

Of course, like all journalism, our paper would be nothing without the people who speak to The Hatchet every week. Students, faculty, staff and Foggy Bottom residents are generous enough to bring us into their worlds. Our community has invited our staff to talk with them on the days they get married and the days they mourn. They have the bravery to share their stories and the courage to trust The Hatchet to show up.

We don’t always get it right. Every time we get a fact wrong, unfairly leave out information or mischaracterize an event or attitude, a part of me collapses. Before I got to GW, The Hatchet got a lot wrong; during my time here, we’ve made countless mistakes; and after I leave, I know we’ll make a lot more. But the students in the townhouse are learning. We are faithfully working to get it right, to improve this old institution.

The people who excel here are the sickos who come back every day. Maybe that’s why I’ve climbed its ranks. I wrote stories from a hospital bed while being treated overnight for a giant pimple in my throat. I’ve edited from mosh pits, on planes, at the beach, atop mountains. My fellow editors and I have poured ourselves into the paper to ease the pain of arguments, breakups and life-altering events. When I found out my mom had cancer again, I was editing. When I found out, this time, she wouldn’t get better, I dove deeper into the work.

I’m in awe of the people I’ve met on staff. So many find ways to juggle jobs, school and life with the paper’s barbaric demands. And then they return each week, often with a smile, to produce better journalism than the week before.

It’s not an easy way to spend your college years, inside The Hatchet’s townhouse. Yet each week, there I was, back within its shabby walls, under its fluorescent lights, with my friends who chose to do the same.

To the people who’ve kept showing up:

Zach: I’m not sure who I would be on The Hatchet without you. I think about our promise two years ago, together on the second floor of the townhouse, that we could not, would not, be SNE(s) without one another. My experience has hinged on us standing side by side. I’m not sure what I’ll do without it. I think I’ll most miss the habits. Editing while watching football in the newsroom on Thursday and in the basement on Sunday. Asking for a nibble of Oreos or Cheez-its from the packages stowed in your backpack. Ruminating on the state of affairs at The Hatchet, GW and anywhere else in the world. Cackling over Moneyball. Walking to the townhouse just to spend a passing hour with you, doing the same old things we always do.

Grace: It’s no secret that I think the world of you. You’re a lifelong friend who I’ve watched ascend to the top of this paper. In three years, I’ve been lucky enough to foster each new step. Every single time, I’ve never had a doubt you deserve to be here. You’re not taking over on a crapshoot or because you barked up the right tree. You did the work. It will pay off. There’s not much else I could write here that I haven’t already told you, so I’ll leave you with this: You have a talent for getting back up after you’ve been knocked down. Don’t let anyone take that from you. And even though you don’t need the help, I’ll always have your back. (P.S. please, please don’t paint the EIC office. Remember its charm.)

Jaden: It’s easy to get tunnel vision while working for The Hatchet. We’re staunchly divided between sections, and the pathway up the ladder to management is only reserved for a select few. I’m a perpetrator of the preconception, but you opened my horizons. I’ve witnessed your breakneck rise. What took me years, you mastered in months. You’re a natural editor. You can pick apart the tiniest of phrases and find ways to patch the biggest holes. You’re quick to call other staffers ‘sickos,’ but I couldn’t imagine anyone else who’d show up on a whim to Friday night edits just to learn. You have a deep understanding and appreciation for the work; for every staffer behind it. I look up to your dedication, how ready you are to dive in headfirst, no matter how deep the ocean.

Jarrod: I’m not sure I owe more to anyone, besides my parents, than you. I would not, I could not, be a journalist without you. You took my clunky, obtuse writing and taught me to sharpen it. I learned how to look for holes, rearrange sentences and rework ledes because of you. You reminded me to be fair. And I miss you. Nobody eats Combos anymore, and it’s a crime. We need someone to be in good spirits when a Sunday prodo is pummeling us into the ground. I need a good Boston accent to lift me up from the pits. I miss getting in yelling bouts; it’s not as much fun cause Grace wins them all now (I’m also sorry about the whole desk and ankles situation, too.) I miss seeing you behind the EIC chair, chugging away at the paper.

Isha: I miss your presence. Having your eyes, calm, news (and moral) compass helped guide everything we did, and everything I did. I hear you in the back of my head whenever I’m working on big story, demanding I cut through the fat to write the actual news. Zach and I tell editors that you’re the model they should thrive for. You approached every story with authority, but somehow still managed to bring ducks and ghosts to the townhouse. You’re the framework for who we want to be as a newspaper.

To the Vol. 119 news team: I miss having you all in the townhouse. I miss the frantic phone calls; memes in the news team groupchat; long Fridays in the newsroom; hungover, testy budgeting meetings; your teasing of me and Zach; watching you come back, learn and improve week after week. Being SNE was my favorite job on The Hatchet. Thank you.

Ianne: The first time I actually met you, after months of interacting remotely, we sat down next to the GW Hospital and I begged you to join the news team. Luckily, you said yes. You have a refined talent and grit for the work you do. If I had to list the best stories I’ve gotten to be a part of while SNE, your byline would take up more than half the tally. I’ve watched you scrounge up absorbing news and connect with seemingly unreachable sources. You were asked, mostly by me, to do so much for this paper. Keep pushing the staff to do the same. It’s really easy to tell how many volumes of staff look up to you. How could we not?

Caitlin: It’s difficult to edit someone whose writing is better than your own. That’s how I felt the first day you turned in a story, and I learned how to separate coordinated adjectives with a comma. You write with breadth, humor and consistency that is rare among college students. You were a much better academics editor than I was. And you turned my wild, often incomprehensible demands the rocky basements of Lisner Hall to the Virginia Taco Bell into elegant stories. Above all, you’re a (quietly) silly yet thoughtful person who I’ve learned so much from. I’ve even started zooming in on Google Docs while editing. (Do you also have the best music taste on The Hatchet? I’d put money on it.)

Eóighan: I don’t quite remember you being drunk on the call when I hired you, yet if anything, it probably indicated the good things to come. You energized a tired newsroom. The shenanigans, the coffee, the memes, the jokes, they lifted us up. Plus, we got the added benefit that you happened to be a pretty good journalist (RIP the lawsuit beat). I can’t wait to see you in Ireland go energize that sleepy island. You were always too cool to be on The Hatchet. But here you are, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Erika: One of the best and scariest parts about being an editor is asking yourself who you trust. Who can take on this big story? Who should we send? Who can we tell about this? The answer, consistently, is you. You’ll show up, you’ll get it done, you’ll get it right. The Vol. 118 news team knew you’d be hired onto staff in September 2021. You’ve exceed each one of our expectations and, along the way, we became friends. Thank you for being someone to trust.

Faith: I’m glad you stuck around this year. I was consistently struck by how well you handled your beat last year. And, to be honest, jealous I never really got to edit your work. I’m glad we’ve become friends cause now I get a behind-the-scenes. You’re a talented, relentless reporter and a calm editor. I feel safe knowing you’ll get eyes on (mostly) everything going forward. We’ll be better for it. Finally, now that you’re in management, give Jarrod a run for his money. I’ve got $50 on you.

Sophia: Sometimes I feel bad for roping you, a talented photographer, into the news team. When I remember some of your biggest bylines, it ebbs. You got the best bylines because of your sheer will to be there. Despite your daunting news and photo portfolio, you’ve remained one of the most humble and genuine people I’ve met at GW. It’s been a difficult year not seeing you every week, chewing gum, in the corner of the newsroom. I hope you find a way back next year. One day, I’m going to visit your farm. I want to see those fancy horses.

Nikki: You have a sensitivity for what this paper needs when it needs it. Next year, it will be more critical than ever. Do your best to push the people at this school to believe in The Hatchet. It won’t be easy, but I know you’ll be able to find what the paper needs. (Please keep writing feature stories, too, we desperately need them. Anything to be more of a magazine)

Tara: Thanks for showing up each week (even if you were a little late to meetings). Being on the news team as a senior is no easy task, but you looked after and defended your fellow editors. Thanks for being the paper’s cheerleader.

Henry: I’m glad you’ve been in our corner (both figuratively and in the newsroom) from the start. Still, I miss your presence in the townhouse, wishing, at the quiet moments, that you could interject with a joke. Instead, I get to laugh at your reviews in the culture pages and on Letterboxd. Please keep writing.

Dan: Thank you for being patient with me as I learned the ropes of SNE and fought back against your Queen’s English, which I really hope you’ve stopped using. I know you’ll be successful at whatever you end up doing. Just remember who won the war.

To the Vol. 120 News Team: It was a tough year to be on the news team. Nothing was normal. Zach and I were hard on each one of you. Still, you stepped up. You approached your stories with grit and compassion. We put out some solid work. Keep finding ways to improve The Hatchet.

Fiona Riley: You’re unflinching under pressure. I’ve watched you over the last few weeks take the reigns of the news team with ease. You aren’t afraid to get dirty or do the work to make this paper hum. Just remember to take care of yourself. The Hatchet will always be here, and you have a team around you to help. Thank you for continuing the dominant legacy of academics editor.

Rachel Moon: I’ve enjoyed watching you, week after week, come out of your shell. And it’s now struck me how genuine you are. You care for this paper; I know you’ll be there for its staff. Continue to grow as a reporter and editor. I know you’ll make a good teacher for future editors. Thank you for (also) continuing the dominant legacy of academics editor. Bring the same dominance to SNE.

Jennifer: I know what it’s like to feel like to want to fix every piece of The Hatchet. There is a lot of work to do. But don’t put all that pressure on yourself. There are a lot of people here who want to make it better, and they may just need some guidance. Whether it’s through your community-driven stories (the bricks are a good pitch), approachable demeanor or growing influence on staff, keep pushing The Hatchet to grow. The generations that come after you will appreciate it.

Rory: It’s so clear how much you care. I hope every source, every reporter and every editor you come across can see how much weight you put into getting it right. It’s an affliction that’s often too rare in reporters to empathize with your stories and the people telling them. Keep it with you.

Hannah: A lot of people are quick to dog on the Student Government Association, an attitude that can delegitimize the important work they do and undermine it’s coverage, turning the beat into a drama-filled circus. Yet, you treated it with the respect it deserved while still holding the body accountable. I’m excited to see you do the same with admin.

Fiona Bork: Last year, I messed up. I forgot to add your byline to the page on your first A1 story. I sent a miniature essay as an apology, but you didn’t care. For you, it’s only about the work. You’ve since had more A1 stories than I could have dreamed of as an editor while dealing with one of the most difficult beats on the most difficult year imaginable. Plowing through its challenges is likely not what you signed up for, but you handled them with grit and grace.

Cade: You’ve shown up when needed and once again turned the events editor job into one of the core members of the news team. Not a simple task. Next year, when they’re trying to spend money on paint or any, don’t be afraid to say no. Some of The Hatchet’s future is in your hands, and I know you’ll finance it well.

Max: I remember jostling to hire you onto the news team your first year, only to lose you to pod. I’m glad you ended up on the news team, but I’m sad to see you go again. I know you’ll do well. Remember to think about the little guy.

To the Vol. 121 News Team: Next year is going to be difficult. You’ll be challenged at every step, but keep pushing. Be empathetic and fair to your sources and each other.

Nicholas: You’re The Hatchet’s star receiver, cheerleader and waterboy wrapped into one. You wrote that you view your job as supporting the paper both its people and its stories and you’ve excelled. You have a clear ideal of what journalism is and have brought that belief into the paper. My favorite days at GW are marked by seeing people read the print paper. This year, because of your paper handouts, I’ve had the most good days ever.

Grace: I’ve never actually seen you in a hammock, but I often picture you in one relaxed, drawing or reading a book. The other times I think of you, it’s with a wide smile in the basement, reminiscing over a crazy incident or captaining a new one. I loved every antic and enjoyed all the whimsy. I know you wanted to be a copy editor, but I really think you were born to design. The pages look better with your fingerprints. The merch, in its first year, is already iconic. And who would we be without your poems?

Sejal: You’re an unstoppable force. It’s a universal truth, like the existence of gravity. I knew it in our first Zoom call our first year, and I watch it every day now. Behind your grind is a spirit who has been equally compassionate and selfless. Thank you for always being in my corner, supporting me, editing my work and offering to connect me with a seemingly endless pool of journalists. I can’t imagine the heights you’ll reach. Since an unstoppable force will, apparently, never be stopped, I’m just glad I’ll be a witness.

Ethan Benn: I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but every chance I get, I track you down. For two years, I’ve done my best to find you in meetings, join you on walks or invite you to work. Those moments, as selfish as they may be, are where I get to pick your brain. And after every conversation, I leave thinking with more depth and intention. I could drone on and on about your gifts as a writer (the best on the paper btw) or your quirky character (Mr. Dungeon Master extraordinaire has finally begun jaywalking), but I want you to know you’ve influenced the way I approach the world. Along the way, I’ve discovered a true friend.

Riley: It takes guts to write about yourself. The kind of bravery I’m not sure I have, but it’s a quality you breathe. You’ve told intimate, moving stories about your life in the pages of The Hatchet. Your writing has changed school policy, your contributions have influenced campus-wide dialogue and your compassion has helped give others the space to step forward to tell their own stories.

Paige: Watching you blossom as a writer has kept me going this year. Whenever I edit one of your essays, I’m moved, each one better than the last. It exemplifies the talent the paper is lucky enough to attract and your work’s seemingly unlimited ceiling. You may hit bumps in the road, but keep at it.

Nick: I wish you’d started staying at prodos earlier this year. You’re a treasure trove of information. It took me too long to find out you worked at a cemetery. You also probably know too much about Connecticut politics. Who knew we could gush over alt-weeklies and Quavo having a cold together? You’ve brought new life to the culture section and are consistently bylining some of my favorite stories. I’m glad you’re sticking around for future prodos because you’re only beginning to hit your stride.

Jenna: It’s an injustice that the public was robbed of your culture writing for most of your time at GW. Who knows how much you (our in-house twin-turned-writer-turned-comedian-turned-editor) could have cooked up if only given more time to lavish our readers with your ideas. Maybe not all comedians are out of touch. You have a knack for finding things in plain sight. Which is strange considering it seems like you spent the majority of the past year hidden away in the rooms of the townhouse. I hope, in your criminally short time on The Hatchet, you found a home.

Annie: Every Wednesday I look forward to editing your column. Luckily, there’s never much to edit. So, maybe I should say, I look forward to reading your column. I put aside half an hour just to bask in your quips, references and puns before it goes to print. It’s difficult to create something new on The Hatchet we’re an institution averse to change — but your persistence created a new voice for the paper. I have no doubt we’re better for it.

Núria: I’m not sure if anyone has dealt with more challenges while on The Hatchet than you. From the most incremental issues with reporting to running a section alone for, practically, two years. The good thing is there is also no one more tough on this paper than you. You have been pushed through depths of hell and come back punching. I admire your resilience.

Luke: I miss seeing you in the townhouse, hearing your laugh as you walked through the door. You may be the only person who preferred the basement mitt. You’re a great journalist and an even better person. We miss you.

Sandra: Somehow, you’re always in a good mood when you’re in the townhouse. Leading a section as a sophomore is no small task, but your good humor and persistence have managed to change the culture of sports, and, in the interim, you’ve worked on some of my favorite stories this year. And if the coverage this year is an indication of the next two, I couldn’t be more excited.

Ben: Watching you grow this year has been a pleasure. I love sitting in the EIC office with you as your brain wraps itself around a story. I’ve also told you a few times to go back and rewrite a draft. Each time, you’ve brought back a better, more honest story where I can hear your voice shining through. You’re a much better writer than I was my sophomore year, and I can only imagine how good you’ll become upon your graduation. Keep writing, reporting, and thinking deeply about stories.

Izzy: I deliver a lot of bad news on Sundays, and flipping the pages on their head is most consistently on the top of the list. Thank you for humoring my ideas. I’m not sure how many of them worked (I’d guess I’m batting a solid .200), but I’m glad some of them did. There aren’t a lot of people who can read books on prodo. I think that’s a testament to how well you’ve integrated into Sunday nights. Your page design is my favorite part of any guide, and you’re always able to adapt to pressure. I still have to read about Scottish soccer politics.

Maura: Hippopatomus feet. A Dungeons and Dragons notepad. Insider ad deals. And a pretty good Letterboxd account. Those are my favorite images to describe you. I should have known you were operating on a higher plane when I saw those first few Hippo sketches. I was reminded of it every time you saved us from gnomes and zombies with your quick wits and scrupulous notes. I’m disappointed you graduated early, but so grateful we got to cross paths. I’ll keep stalking your movie reviews.

Auden: You’re the basement glue. I kept thinking that when you left to see the eclipse and the basement (we were actually in the newsroom alleged mold and all) didn’t feel the same. I can’t imagine the basement culture without you in it. We need Up home screens and 1 a.m. crossword puzzles and someone’s gotta sub in for Izzy when she has to fly home for the dentist. I’m at ease when I walk down the steps and see you in the same spot. I feel like we’ve had similar roles on The Hatchet: two months in junior editor jobs before being thrust into permanent leadership positions. You’ve masterfully handled your roles as senior photo editor and basement glue. Thanks for holding everyone together.

Sage: On a paper full of hotheads, your calm presence has been a welcome respite. Especially between Zach, Grace and I, a rambunctious bunch, you’ve cut through our yelling matches with sincerity and softness. Even when you’re under pressure, you manage to stay composed. Your attitude is evident in your authentic, sober frames. It’s a quality the paper often needs but goes stretches without. I hope it helps guide the next generation of staffers.

Jordan: It’s well-known how talented you are. Just remember that this is a team; people are relying on you to teach them. Be patient with both your subjects and photographers and help lift the latter up. The section will be better for it.

Jordyn: It’s hard to be at school and it’s even harder to work on The Hatchet. But I’m so glad you’re here, in this community, where I know you’re valued. I love your can-do, approachable attitude. It’s infectious.

Florence: There aren’t many mechanisms that lets students dip their toes into The Hatchet, it’s usually all or nothing. Find those people who are unsure, and bring them in. Their eyes and frames can make a difference.

Ethan Valliath: If I made a list of every social media editor at every college newspaper in the country, there is no doubt in my mind that you’d be top five. Kobe-level greatness. The aesthetic you’ve created for The Hatchet is so good that even the campus satire accounts try to recreate it. You bring a special enthusiasm to the paper while working one of the most tedious jobs and leading the most public-facing section. Your passion inspires me, and I’m in constant awe of your determination and ability to come back swinging day after day.

Max and Anaya: Max, I’ve welcomed watching you grow. It’s hard to join as a first year and it’s even harder when you’re in such a high-pressure environment. Keep it up. Anaya, you’ve consistently offered a fresh perspective in ed board with boggling anecdotes and succinct analysis. I want to see some more Tiktoks!

An: You’ve brought enthusiasm to a section regularly overlooked. You’ve been fast on your feet and quicker to adapt to the changing graphic and illustration needs of every section. And you’ve managed to make AAJA a sustainable, long-term organization. I know you have big ideas for what graphics and data at The Hatchet can be, so keep working for them.

Cristina: When you’re on a path, you’re a meteor, charging through space and obliterating anything in your way. Maybe that’s a symptom of an often-loud basement or an often-overlooked copy and facts section. Either way, you’ve given a chunk of staff a voice, and a loud, tough voice at that. I joke that I look forward to getting into late-night tussles over style with you, but with each one, I’m reminded by how much of a copy master you’ve grown into and how deeply you understand the mechanisms of this paper. Keep fighting for your staff.

Brooke: I’m always happy to see you outside the walls of the townhouse at a party or hanging out with a mutual friend. I’ve loved getting to know you, chatting outside in the open, sometimes over a cigarette. I’ve already watched how much of a natural reporter you are, and I’m jealous of the new reporters who will get to have you as an editor. I’ll see ya around.

Dylan: You come into the basement (or the business office) every Sunday with a smile and a curious mind. I love asking you what you think about a story because I know, no matter the topic, you’ll have an insightful takeaway. While fact checking with ease, you’ve grown into a thoughtful reporter. I’m glad, through it all, you’ve somehow found time to golf, too.

Anna: I look forward to finding you tucked away in the backroom of the basement every Sunday, quietly hard at work. Thank you for showing up each week, excited and willing to go the extra mile.

To former staff:

Michelle: I miss our runs. Zach and I dream about what could have happened if you’d stayed. Your effort, passion, humility and kindness would serve the paper well, and I’m confident that you would have brought us to new heights. But I’m honored I got to watch you commandeer our rivals. Now we know, from a source on the inside, who is the undisputed best.

Jared: My grandME, grandSNE, my grandANE, my grandfactchecker, you told me in your 30 to take up the mantle as the paper’s institutionalist. I think that’s the one job of yours I couldn’t do. You have an innate ability to capture the essence of this paper and its people through its many ups and downs. Is there anyone who believes in The Hatchet more than you? It’s a status I can only admire.

Zach: I always think of your grin. It was a rare, mischievous smile that made me think you knew something no one else did; an inside joke only you understood. I saw it when we tied administrators down on a story or when we got a good quote. I’m not sure I can capture the goliath you are as a reporter Schonfeldian becoming an adjective, and all – but your grin always meant we were doing something right.

Lia: I feel I’ve come to understand your work more over the years. Coming off the back of an unabated news team run, EIC isn’t an easy job, and I know our news team made it harder. Still, you led with rigor and inspired my growth. Thank you for taking a chance on me sophomore year. Being promoted to assistant news editor changed the trajectory of my time at GW and, likely, my life. I’m a better person because you gave me a shot, even if I didn’t make the cut the first time around.

Tiffany: Despite holding you in incredibly high regard, I still feel like you’re underrated. You brought poise, energy and a smile to every interaction we had while still managing to stay quick on your feet as an editor and tough as a reporter. Will there ever be anybody else whose reporting pisses off enough frat bros that they chant “Fuck Tiffany Garcia” at a meeting? Probably not. And for that, among a myriad of other stories, you’re a legend.

Lauren: It was dumping rain when we interviewed the Student Association president the fall of 2021. It was humid, dark and the cicadas wouldn’t shut up when we covered an SBA meeting a few weeks later. That’s how I remember it, bad conditions and tedious stories, but you kept showing up. You defined what the student government beat has become and helped push its drama into the campus psyche. That sounds like some pretty good journalism to me.

Abby: The townhouse lost some of its luster when you left The Hatchet. You consistently brought a smile into the newsroom that lifted everyone up. Still, your willingness to report news from the club on a Saturday night, long after your departure, means the news mind never left you.

Clara: Thank you for fielding my hap-hazard pitches. Some of them turned out pretty good. Others didn’t. But with each idea I had you were there to listen, provide feedback and help push me to get the story in before print, often one too many days behind deadline. Those stories provided me the opportunity to learn about the paper and grow as a writer. I’m grateful.

Lily: I wish you could come back to the paper. But I’m grateful that you haven’t gone far. Despite your short time at The Hatchet, you left a lasting mark on the members of staff you interacted with. I selfishly hope there’s a future where you find a way back into its walls.

Danielle: There are people on this paper who bring it to life, and you’re one of them. I miss your chaos in the townhouse on Sundays. You always said you were the worst writer (you still wrote some good captions) on the paper but still somehow managed to be our most talented photographer. You revitalized the photo section by bringing in photojournalism majors (not sure why that wasn’t the case before) while bringing life to The Hatchet.

Rachel: You put up with a lot of bullshit from Zach and I. We tried, and often failed, to keep photo in mind. You still managed to have renewed patience and enthusiasm each week. I’ll never stop fawning over your concert photos. I’m so excited to see where your talent takes you.

Professor Roberts: You’ve been an anchor of grace, good will and guidance during my time at GW and on The Hatchet. In class, you’ve made me a livelier writer and a sharper thinker. On The Hatchet, there’s no emergency call you haven’t heeded. Zach and I, like the dozens of other editors before us, are forever grateful for you.

To Acacia, Noah, Carly, Annie, Stefan and Blyss: I’m looking foward to finally attending our Sunday family dinner. Thanks for waiting.

np done


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