The GW Hatchet Alumni Association Celebrating 107 years of publication and 18 years of independence. Sun, 01 May 2016 06:14:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Meet The Hatchet’s Next Editor in Chief & more updates from GWHAA Wed, 19 Mar 2014 15:03:27 +0000 Meet The Hatchet’s Next Editor in Chief Brianna GurciulloEarly this month, The Hatchet announced the election of Brianna Gurciullo as its next editor in chief. Following the trajectory of many EICs before her, Gurciullo has written for The Hatchet since her freshman year, ascending from reporter to staff writer to metro editor to campus news editor. We recently spoke with Gurciullo about her plans for the coming year:

What is your vision for the paper? My plan for Vol. 111 focuses on efficiency, innovation and development. Across sections, we will think about how we can best present our in-depth, enterprise stories online. We will also focus on how to drive readers to our site – and keep them there. An online editor, a new position, will steer collaboration among writers, photographers, videographers and web designers. Expect more content that puts University leaders under a microscope, that makes your eyes pop and that breaks down complex issues.

How do Hatchet alumni fit into that vision? I spoke with nearly a dozen alumni as I was preparing my platform for EIC, and several reminded me about The Hatchet’s robust alumni base. The Hatchet will soon move to the townhouse on F Street, doubling our workspace. I hope to take advantage of this move by inviting alumni back for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. We’ll also welcome alumni to visit and speak about their time working for paper, trace their career paths and offer advice current staffers.

Progress on The Hatchet New Townhouse 

Construction continues at 2148 F Street. The drywall is up, painting is underway, and energy-efficient windows have been installed throughout the house. In addition, the interior of the townhouse is on schedule for completion by the end of April. Check out the progress on the new EIC officethe second floor, and top floor.
Thank you again to all those who have helped The Hatchet acquire, build and (soon!) occupy this state-of-the-art facility. To make a gift to support the completion of this project, click here.
Mark Your Calendar: D.C. Hatchet Alumni Happy Hour on April 21
Join us at the next D.C. alumni happy hour at Irish Whiskey Public House on Monday, April 21 from 6-8 pm. The event will be held in the Dublin room on the 2nd Floor of the bar. Specials include $4 wine and $4 bottled beer.
Interested in Getting Involved with GWHAA? 
GWHAA is seeking volunteers interested in supporting ongoing alumni outreach efforts. Duties include connecting current staffers with alumni, planning happy hours, sending alumni updates, and promoting the Home for the Hatchet Fund. Email for more information.
We look forward to seeing you at our next event!
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Hatchet breaks ground on new building Tue, 26 Nov 2013 14:10:14 +0000 Ken Chaletzky, president of Home for The Hatchet, Inc., Cory Weinberg, editor-in-chief of The Hatchet, Lou Katz, executive vice president and treasurer, at GW, Michael Morsberger, vice president of development and alumni relations at GW, Paul Falkenbury, a partner with Samaha Associates and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president emeritus of GW stand next to the new townhouse.

Ken Chaletzky, president of Home for The Hatchet, Inc., Cory Weinberg, editor-in-chief of The Hatchet, Lou Katz, executive vice president and treasurer, at GW, Michael Morsberger, vice president of development and alumni relations at GW,
Paul Falkenbury, a partner with Samaha Associates and
Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president emeritus of GW, stand next to the new townhouse.

Members of The Hatchet’s staff and directors of Home for The Hatchet started construction on the newspaper’s new townhouse at 2148 F St. during a ceremony last Friday.

With golden shovels and hardhats, the group celebrated the official start of the 6-month renovation process with top University officials who spoke of their interactions with the with the award-winning paper.

Members of The Hatchet's editorial staff celebrated the groundbreaking at the paper's new townhouse.

Members of The Hatchet’s editorial staff celebrated the groundbreaking at the paper’s new townhouse.

Renovations are expected to finish by May.

The nonprofit Home for The Hatchet has launched a $2 million fundraising campaign for the project.

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Fall update from The GW Hatchet Alumni Assocation Thu, 31 Oct 2013 20:37:04 +0000 Happy Halloween from The GW Hatchet Alumni Association!

No tricks here, this news is just a treat.
The D.C. government has finally issued a building permit for The Hatchet’s new townhouse! This exciting development allows the Home for The Hatchet organization to begin construction on the paper’s new home and begin planning for the move – currently scheduled for this spring.

As you may have read in The New York Times today, the newsroom has been sponsored by Berl Brechner, the editor in chief in 1967. There have also been donations for the editor in chief and business manager’s office.

Ken Chaletzky, a Hatchet board member who is heading up Home for The Hatchet campaign, said the permit will allow the paper to turn the four-level, more than 100-year old townhouse located on F Street into a modern facility. You can see the blueprints and the floor plans at

Where in the world are you?
Part of building a community of alumni means the alumni association needs to know where you are and what you’re up to. This will help us know where to host events, what kind of social activities you’re looking for and how to connect current staffers with mentors across industries. Sign up here.

In the spotlight: The Hatchet.
The Hatchet has been doing an amazing job covering a trove of controversies and scandals at GW this fall, and holding the University accountable to the GW community. The GWHAA is very proud that the current staff has drawn on its instructional knowledge and gusto to lead the coverage nationally on dean resignations and the recent announcement that GW has misled students on its need-blind policies. That story was picked up by ThinkProgress, Business Insider, MSNBC and CNN.

Jeremy Diamond, the news editor who broke the story, told GWHAA that a solid understanding of GW and dedication to a beat – drilled into him by a series of editors – helped him uncover the truth. “My editors have continuously and repeatedly drilled the importance of good sourcing into my head. And so, before I even started digging into this story, I already had one of the key elements to put it together. Coupled with a thorough understanding of the admissions and financial aid beats, I was able to take a rare moment of transparency from a GW administrator, and run with it.”

Lauren and Becky

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Photos from The Hatchet’s alumni happy hour Mon, 30 Sep 2013 21:24:19 +0000 The GW Hatchet’s alumni happy hour last week was a big hit. Former editors, writers and columnists showed up in record numbers and we can easily say this was our most successful event yet. If you couldn’t make it (or indulged in too many $3 mixed drinks and need a refresher), here are some photos from the event.
Former opinion editors Lyndsey Wajert and Patrick Rochelle.

Former opinions editors Lyndsey Wajert and Patrick Rochelle.

Production manager Rachael Lee and former opinions editor Patrick Rochelle.

Production manager Rachael Lee and former opinions editor Patrick Rochelle.

Former sports editors Andrew Alberg (right) and Louis Nelson (left).

Former sports editors Andrew Alberg (right) and Louis Nelson (left).

Current staffer Josh Perlman and Cat Barnao, a former news writer.

Current staffer Josh Perlman and Cat Barnao, a former news writer.

Former cartoonist Sara Fischer (right) chats with former contributing life editor Miranda Green.

Former cartoonist Sara Fischer (right) chats with former contributing life editor Miranda Green.

Former managing director Erica Steinberg and current editor in chief Cory Weinberg.

Former managing director Erica Steinberg and current editor in chief Cory Weinberg.

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August update from GWHAA Fri, 23 Aug 2013 04:00:50 +0000 We hope you’re having an incredible August (and a quiet one if you’re D.C.).

With a new Hatchet year comes a changing of the guard for The GW Hatchet Alumni Association. Becky Reeves worked for Vol. 107 as a copy editor and Lauren French was the editor in chief for Vol. 107 and Vol. 108.

We’re incredibly excited to help out with the alumni association – and we’re even more excited to get to know our ever-growing group of alumni.

First, housekeeping:

The GWHAA’s first event of the year will be Sept. 26, 2013 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Big Hunt in Dupont Circle. This overlaps with GW’s Alumni Weekend! We’ll send additional event details soon. And please let us know if you’re coming into town.

We will follow up with an event in New York City for all of the Big Apple-based alumni. If you’re located in another city with a bunch of former Hatcheteers, let us know so we can work on holding a happy hour near you.


An artist’s rendering of the new Hatchet townhouse.

The Hatchet’s new home:

As many of you know, the newspaper is in the process of renovating a new townhouse just off campus. As a Hatchet-owned building, the new offices will help meet the paper’s evolving staffing and production needs. It will also provide a meeting place for future alumni gatherings.

The Hatchet goes weekly:

This week, The Hatchet officially moved to a weekly publication schedule. The paper’s current Editor in Chief Cory Weinberg, the paper’s staff and The Hatchet’s Board of Directors have decided this is best course of action in light of declining ad revenue and increasing print production costs.

This is a big, yet smart move for the paper. This will allow the staff of Vol. 110 to modernize the way it produces news and to better provide content to its readers online.

This change comes as The Hatchet’s publishes its first issue of the new school year. There is more information about the printing change as well as a very smart story by Sarah Ferris looking at how GW is changing its ways as students act less like pupils and more like consumers.

Where are you?

One of the GWHAA’s main goals it to help mentor the current staff and build a tight-knit group of alumni. To accomplish both of these goals, we need to know where you are and what you’re up to. Please take a second and update your contact and work information here.

And if you’re interested in getting involved with training or mentoring the current staff, please let us know.

You’ll be hearing more from us about upcoming events and the GWHAA at large – and we hope to hear from you.


Lauren and Becky

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Photo: New York City launch event Tue, 18 Oct 2011 04:00:06 +0000

Hatchet alums had a great time at the GW Hatchet Alumni Association’s New York City launch event on Oct. 5. Pictured here are (clockwise from left) Michael Barnett ’06, Erin Shea ’07, Brian Costa ’05, Joshua Riezman ’05, Amanda Lindner ’10, Lauren Silva ’03, Julie Gordon ’04, Sarah Scire ’10, Dan Greene ’10, Alex Abnos ’09, Jenn Tobia ’04 and Sacha Evans ’06. | Photo by Jess Calefati (’08)

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Hatchet apparel available for purchase Wed, 05 Oct 2011 04:00:11 +0000 The Hatchet’s apparel sale is open for business this week, if you’re interested in representing first journalism job. From the paper:

Hatchet apparel is here! We have some cool items this year that we hope you like. To buy sweatshirts, tees and hats with The Hatchet’s logo on them, please go to  click on “spiritwear ordering”  and enter the code: 11GWHATCHET2.

Ordering ends on Monday, Oct. 10, so be sure to log on and order before then. The next Hatchet clothing order will take place in the spring.

All orders will ship automatically to The Hatchet townhouse, and you will be able to pick them up there.

If you don’t live in the D.C. area, you can get in touch with The Hatchet here to have them send your package on from the townhouse. Additional shipping costs may be required.

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NYC launch event set for Oct. 5 Mon, 26 Sep 2011 04:00:17 +0000 Are you an alumnus in the New York area? Then don’t miss our NYC launch event on October 5.

All former writers, photographers, editors and staff are invited to reconnect with old friends and hear a little bit more about this exciting step in The Hatchet’s history. Our New-York based alumni span nearly every field – from media and journalism to business, law and medicine – and we hope this event is the start of a strong chapter that helps people professionally, in addition to reconnecting them to The Hatchet.

Thanks to the planning skills of Jessica Calefati ’08, we’re meeting at 7:30pm in the back room of the Half Pint, called Half Pint 2, and have arranged for drink and food specials. Please feel free to bring friends, and please RSVP here.

Even if you can’t attend the launch event, we’d love for you to tell us where you are these days, and join the alumni association.

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Alumni weekend brunch this Saturday Tue, 13 Sep 2011 04:00:12 +0000 Last Thursday, The GW Hatchet Alumni Association hosted its first happy hour in D.C.

Enduring the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, district-area alumni came out to catch up with old friends and update each other on their latest gigs. And with the University’s alumni weekend coming up, we’re hoping for more reuniting. (And better weather.)

Whether you’re visiting GW for the weekend or live around D.C., we invite you to come by The Hatchet’s townhouse on Saturday, Sept. 17 for brunch from 11 a.m. to noon. Reminisce with past Hatcheteers over bagels and beverages, or chat with current staff members about what its like to produce the paper today.

The Hatchet townhouse is at 2140 G St. NW. If you can make it, we ask that you let us know by sending a short email to Looking forward to Saturday!

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Come celebrate with us Wed, 24 Aug 2011 04:00:56 +0000 On Thursday, Sept. 8, The GW Hatchet Alumni Association officially kicks off – and we want you to join us for all the fun! All former writers, photographers, editors and staff are invited to swap stories, reconnect with old colleagues, meet new friends and see what all the buzz is about.

From 6 to 8:30 p.m., enjoy light appetizers, music and good company at One Lounge DC, a hip cocktail lounge in the heart of North Dupont, with a dash of tradition and relaxed atmosphere. (Sounds just like producing an issue on deadline, right?)

If you can make it, please RSVP here. For directions, see the bottom of this post.

This is also just the beginning – all fall, we’ll have events — and not just in D.C. For those in New York City, please save the date for our Manhattan kickoff: September 22nd October 5th at 7pm, location TBA.

We’ll also continue to have the annual open house during GW’s Alumni Weekend, likely on Saturday, Sept. 17. Come flip through bound editions for memories of the past, or chat with current staffers about volume 108. Light refreshments served.

For any inquiries or comments about our launch celebration, or questions about getting involved with the programming committee, please feel free to contact us at

How to get there: OneLounge DC is located in the Northwest section of Washington, DC, on the corner of Connecticut Ave and Q Street NW. Metro Red Line to Dupont Circle and located approximately 50 feet from the North Exit of the station. Metered street parking is widely available, or there are several garages within the vicinity (including Central Parking System at 11 Dupont Circle NW or 1517 New Hampshire NW)

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It’s time to get involved Mon, 22 Aug 2011 04:00:17 +0000 We’re live.

In case you didn’t hear, a group of graduates has been working over the past few months to create a formal alumni association to build upon our already strong alumni community and expand the Hatchet’s network across the country. We’re directly affiliated with The Hatchet and its Board of Directors, and we need your help to make this the best alumni group around.

Our goal is to provide ways for Hatchet alumni to connect both on and offline – that means social and professional events, a recurring newsletter, a more powerful alumni website, and more. To help support what we hope will be a robust calendar of diverse programming, members will be able to join for a small annual fee of $20. (Each year, alumni in one of the most recent two graduating classes will have their fee waived.)

By joining, you will earn benefits not available to non-members, like:

  • Access to a searchable alumni database (Only your name, graduation year, email address, Hatchet position and current title and employer will be visible to other alumni.)
  • A recurring newsletter with updates from fellow alumni and current Hatchet staff
  • Coming Soon: Access to an online job board
  • Invites to special events
  • Most importantly, your membership will show your connection to and support for the greater Hatchet community.

Whether or not you decide to join, we’d love to get an update about where you are and what you’re doing. To update your information (and join the association, if you’d like), follow instructions below. (If you don’t receive our launch email by the Aug. 27, follow the steps found here.)

  1. Point your web browser to
  2. Click “Lost my password” and enter the email address where you received this email
  3. Follow the steps to generate a new password, and log in.
  4. Find the “update my information” link on the right side of the homepage.
  5. Make any necessary changes, and press submit.
  6. A form will appear on the same page that allows you to enter credit card information and pay the $20 annual fee.

We also hope those of you in the area will join us for our first social event on Sept. 8 in Washington, D.C. We’ll also to have a kick-off event in New York City in the next few weeks on October 5th, too, and another event during GW’s alumni weekend in late September.

If you have any questions about the association or kick-off event, or have any feedback on how we could improve this new organization, don’t hesitate to send us an email at

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Former editors organize formal alumni association Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:42:59 +0000

Alex Byers, above, is part of the group establishing the first formal alumni association in the paper's history. | Michelle Rattinger/Senior Photo Editor

This post is part of The Hatchet’s Summer 2011 Alumni Issue and was written by Josh Perlman.

A group of past editors are establishing the first-ever Hatchet alumni association with the hope that a more formalized group will increase alumni participation with the 107-year-old paper.

Started by 2009-2010 editor in chief Alex Byers, The GW Hatchet Alumni Association will serve as the paper’s official alumni development arm when established later this summer.

The ultimate goal of forming the organization, Byers said, is to strengthen the ties between previous Hatchet staffers, as well as ties between alumni and the current staff.

“The Hatchet is largely a tight-knit community for staffers when they are in college, so the goal of the alumni association is to extend that community past graduation,” Byers, 23, said.

When created, the organization will be the first official alumni organization in Hatchet history. Typically done only by current editors on an ad-hoc basis, alumni engagement has been in need of development for years.

The group got the go-ahead to create a formalized alumni association from The Hatchet’s board of directors in March and is working with the directors on business and incorporation models for the association.

The association will allow alumni to reconnect with each other and the paper, with a goal of establishing a mentorship program for current staffers.

“What we feel is really important is connecting the past and the present of The Hatchet to the future,” Tim Gowa, the 2009-2010 director of development, said.

Alumni who have updated their contact information with The Hatchet will receive information after the organization’s launch this summer about membership. Past editors who want to take a role in the group’s creation should e-mail, Byers said.

Alexa Millinger, The Hatchet’s 2008-2009 senior news editor, said she hopes the association will provide not just financial aid to the current staff, but serve as mentors and provide opportunities for internships and connections for jobs after college.

“We all want in some way to be able to give back to The Hatchet because we still care about it as an institution,” Millinger, 24, said. “This for a lot of us was our fraternity or our sports team. We all have great memories from it and great experiences, and I think that to keep that going is something that a lot of people want.”

Jake Sherman, The Hatchet’s 2007-2008 editor in chief and a key player working to establish the association, said the group has been looking to other papers for guidance.

The Hatchet’s group hopes to emulate The Stanford Daily’s association in terms of organization, structure and achievement, Sherman, 25, said. Boasting one of the most successful collegiate alumni groups, the Daily was able to largely finance a new building in solely from alumni donations.

“To the extent that The Hatchet has only been an independent newspaper for a short amount of time, in the grand scheme of things, a lot of the facets of The Hatchet aren’t fully formed,” Sherman said. “It’s just a kind of next step in that evolution to form events, help purchase things for The Hatchet and, most of all, get people involved and help them give back to the organization.”

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French takes on second year as EIC Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:41:17 +0000

Lauren French, sitting in her 2140 G St. office, was reelected by The Hatchet's staff in March. Surrounded by papers produced by last year's editor, French joked she has a lot to live up to. | Michelle Rattinger/Senior Photo Editor

This post is part of The Hatchet’s Summer 2011 Alumni Issue and was written by Gabriel Muller.

It takes mere months for Hatchet editors in chief to learn that running the paper is a full-time, unpredictable gig. That’s why after one year, most of them are eager to step aside to embrace stability.

But Lauren French is confident that her experience in the top spot this past year will leave her well-prepared to take on Volume 108.

“Going into year two, I know the responsibilities of running the paper and the skills of the staff,” French, a senior, said. “Being editor twice will have challenges, of course, but having a leader who knows the ropes come August can’t be all that bad.”

Over the past year, French pushed the staff to increase quality content online, using social media sites, multimedia content and daily reporting to create a comprehensive website covering GW, Foggy Bottom and the District.

“The paper went from using the blog to supplement coverage to breaking stories on the website,” French said. “With our rapid increase in content, we published daily throughout the fall and spring semesters. That is something this staff can be very proud of.”

Sarah Scire, French’s former editor and the 2009-2010 senior news editor, applauded French’s successes, particularly the website’s ability to reach the student body beyond the traditional print edition of The Hatchet.

“Having Lauren at the top of the masthead again is a huge advantage for The Hatchet, and I’m excited to see what she and the staff do with the opportunity to really hit the ground running next year,” Scire said.

French started at The Hatchet her freshman year, with a little experience and a lot of energy. That year, French would become one of the most valuable writers on staff, Scire, 23, said, contributing nearly five pieces each week. She was hired as an assistant news editor during her sophomore year, covering academics and student life.

“She expects a lot of her staff and even more from herself, so I know the paper will continue to get better and better under her watch,” Scire said.

French and 2010-2011 senior news editor Emily Cahn worked side-by-side in managing the content and operations of The Hatchet, even while stumbling over obstacles like last-minute staff restructuring and an unresponsive media relations team.

The journalism major shined during these high-stress situations and gracefully pulled the staff together to achieve the highest results, Cahn said.

“I think Lauren’s true colors really came out when the Greek hazing debacle happened and the University didn’t want to tell us anything,” Cahn, 22, said referring to hazing scandals in the Greek-letter life community.

“She was on the phone every day with administrators, making a really strong and smart case for the information we needed at the end of the day,” Cahn said.

Scire applauded French’s ability to maintain The Hatchet’s high news standards during her first year as editor in chief, and her ability to shoot higher than what the status quo called for, saying, “One of the best things about Lauren is that she’s never just satisfied with good. She wants great.”

As for next year, French hopes to continue leading The Hatchet by working with an already familiar administration, cementing the organization’s commitment to social media and multimedia and raising the bar for strong reporting and writing.

“This staff is really talented,” she said. “And I believe we can be a model of why college media matters and what really good student journalism can do.”

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The Hatchet takes home top journalism awards Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:39:19 +0000

Francis Rivera said his photo, above, that took third place for sports photography, captured the moment correctly. Tim Gowa appreciated the recognition for his ad, right, and saw it as testament to how much he learned.

This post is part of The Hatchet’s Summer 2011 Alumni Issue and was written by Melissa Turley.

Volumes of The Hatchet can be tangibly measured by the number of issues and pages published. A more complicated calculation to consider is the countless hours spent in production, added to the hundreds of interviews and unfathomable amount of phone calls needed to produce an award-winning paper.

This hard work was formally recognized this year in the form of four awards from the Society for Professional Journalism Region II competition and three Pacemaker awards from the Associated Collegiate Press.

In October, the ACP recognized The Hatchets website and web presence with a top accolade, as they do not award first, second or third place rankings in this category.

Hadas Gold, the 2009 life editor, and Tim Gowa, the 2009-2010 managing director, both received honorable mentions. Gold was honored for a story written with former staff writer Tamara El Waylly on three students who were detained in Ethiopia in 2009, and Gowa was awarded for his ad promoting The Hatchet’s annual student coffee house.

“One of the big reasons the award doesn’t have a huge effect on me was because of the big lesson of The Hatchet: you’re only as successful as the team that you work with,” Gowa, 23, said. “The individual Pacemakers are a nice recognition, but what they really represent is how much I’ve learned and grown from those countless hours in prodo.”

In April, The Hatchet received four awards in the SPJ’s Region II competition. Region II competitors include D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and North Carolina.

The editorial board was awarded a first place prize for three staff editorials. The first was on the absence of information after sophomore Taylor Hubbard’s death last May, a second on University President Steven Knapp’s scheduled absences from Colonial Inauguration last summer and finally for the administration’s lack of a Gelman Library renovation plan.

Lyndsey Wajert, current director of development and 2010-2011 opinions editor, said the three editorials were the board’s strongest pieces this past year.

“They are pretty representative of what we try to accomplish in the majority of our writing,” Wajert said, “They had an impact and had a result.”

After the editorial on potential absences was published, Knapp amended his summer schedule in order to attend Colonial Inauguration.

The Hatchet’s website also took home a first place award in the wake of its move last August to a daily paper with frequent updates on the paper’s seven blogs. The revamped media department has also tripled the number of multimedia pieces available to online viewers.

Louis Nelson, the 2010-2011 sports editor, received a second place nod for his piece on Kye Allums, the first transgender player in Division I basketball history.

Contributing photo editor Francis Rivera was awarded a third place prize for his photographic coverage of the men’s swim team shot as a staff photographer during the first semester of his sophomore year.

“It’s easy to take a photo that will look nice, but it’s hard to capture the moment correctly,” Rivera said, “The photo captured the moment and told a story.”

Both first place submissions from the web and opinions sections will move on to the Society’s national competition, where all 12 regions will compete for arguably the most coveted awards in collegiate journalism.

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Alumnus leaves desk job to tour Europe with band Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:31:08 +0000

Alexander Abnos, center, quit his job as a press officer for Sporting Kansas City to tour the United States and Europe with Marie Parker, left, and Charlie Gokey, right. | Photo courtesy of Secret Cities

This post is part of The Hatchet’s Summer 2011 Alumni Issue and was written by Amanda D’Ambra.

Alex Abnos spent the first few weeks after his 2009 graduation orchestrating one of the biggest redesigns The Hatchet has seen in over a decade.

An achievement yes, but not exactly a lasting career for the journalism grad.

“At the time I was… generally wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life,” Abnos, the 2009 production assistant, said.

As the drummer of Secret City, a psychedelic pop group, Abnos yearned to tour with his band.

But having heard nothing from recording labels about the group’s work, Abnos headed back to his hometown of Kansas City, Mo. in early 2010. He began working as press officer for the Wizards – since renamed Sporting Kansas City – a major league soccer team.

“It wasn’t the dream job I thought it would be,” Abnos said. “I guess I had always envisioned spending my early 20s seeing the world on my terms, and even the coolest desk job in the coolest office in the world, couldn’t wrestle that from my mind.”

But then, Western Vinyl, an Austin, Texas-based record label, decided to release Secret City’s album, with the promise that the accompanying publicity would be enough to support a tour. Abnos, 25, left his job with the Wizards immediately.

“I haven’t looked back since, except to say ‘Man, I’m glad I did that,’ ” Abnos said.

Finally, with the backing of a professional label, the band took hold of its dreams and set off on an extensive tour throughout the U.S. and Europe, culminating in Faenza, Italy on May 26.

“Some days are really great, and some make you want to pull your hair out… I am touring with three people who have very relaxed personalities and are very easy to get along with. That makes the good days that much better, and the bad days a little easier to get through,” Abnos said.

Abnos recalled a performance in an old opera house in Spain. He said the grandeur of the theater made him feel overwhelmingly fortunate to have the opportunities the band has given him.

“I kept on looking around in the middle of songs, in utter disbelief that somebody was paying me to play drums in such a beautiful and renowned space,” Abnos said.

The group took two weeks off before embarking on a domestic tour through June and July. They will head their separate ways again in the fall.

Group founder Charlie Gokey will resume his pursuit of a law degree at Georgetown University, and co-founder Marie Parker plans to move to Kansas City, Mo. to teach music. Abnos will also return to his studies at Columbia University, where he will work toward a master’s degree in journalism.

“I think for most bands, all the members moving away from each other would signal the end, but I don’t think that will be the case for us,” Abnos said. “Tour is just about the only time we spend in the physical presence of each other, and I actually kind of like it that way. It forces us to have the weird, fractured sound that we have, and helps us make music that’s just so damn fun to play.”

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Hatchet alumna on Board of Trustees Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:26:42 +0000

Diana Henriques, a senior financial writer for The New York Times, has continued to give back to GW since she graduated 44 years ago. | Photo courtesy of Fred Conrad/The New York Times

This post is part of The Hatchet’s Summer 2011 Alumni Issue and was written by Priya Anand.

Diana Henriques remembers sitting on the steps of the old Hatchet building in 1967, waiting for reporters to return from the historic Vietnam War protest march on the Pentagon to edit their stories for the paper.

Forty-four years later, Henriques still recalls those Hatchet experiences as laying the foundation for her lifelong reporting career.

Henriques, a senior financial writer for The New York Times and former news editor for The Hatchet, was elected to GW’s Board of Trustees in May. She said she continues her relationship with the University in a quest to help others receive a chance for GW to shape their lives as well.

“I have felt an intense obligation to make sure the University can continue to provide those kinds of life-changing opportunities to the generations that come after me,” she said. “I found my way into the career that has been one of the great joys of my life at GW.”

As one of the newest members of the University’s top governing body, Henriques, 63, said her primary goal is to learn how the board operates, describing herself as a “trustee in training.”

Nelson Carbonell, the board’s vice chair, said Henriques’ track record of constant dedication to the University made her stand out in the candidate pool.

“Diana Henriques was on the Elliott School [of International Affairs] advisory board…she’s been really committed to GW,” Carbonell said, adding that she is “a really cool person.”

The Elliott School’s International Council, an advisory group comprised of prominent alumni, offers guidance to the school on various issues. Henriques has served on the council for five years.

Henriques is also the author of “Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust,” a book about the financial con man that reveals the personalities of the characters involved in the Madoff scandal – a nearly $65 billion Ponzi scheme led by the former NASDAQ chairman.

Reporting for The Hatchet during an era of gripping turmoil in the District revolving around the Vietnam War solidified Henriques’ career choice, she said.

“It was a really dramatic time for me as a student journalist,” Henriques said. “It confirmed for me that this was the world I wanted to live in.”

Berl Brechner, the 1967-1968 editor in chief, said Henriques was essentially the number two editor at the paper as news editor and polished stories with precision, if not perfection.

“She was as dedicated to The Hatchet as the cause of journalism could have ever known,” Brechner said. “For someone who was a college student and learning the craft, she was way advanced in her skills and abilities.”

Henriques and Brechner said they still keep in touch after working the long hours together to put out the paper every week more than four decades ago.

“It’s one of those things where the intensity of the work relationship when you’re on the staff of a college newspaper, you really do create a bond with the staff you work with,” Brechner said. “You never forget that friendship, that relationship, that bond that was created at that time.”

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Features section gets new name, format Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:22:56 +0000

Melissa Turley, the editor of the culture page, plans to take the section's content out of Foggy Bottom to make the page a go-to source for college students looking for the culture of D.C. The section, launched in January, is a combination of the former life and arts pages. | Michelle Rattinger/Senior Photo Editor

This post is part of The Hatchet’s Summer 2011 Alumni Issue and was written by Gabrielle Marush.

The features section of The Hatchet has had many names: life, arts, style, the Weekender, GWeekend.

But, with its newest moniker, The Hatchet staff feels it has a lasting section name.

“The name ‘culture’ embodies everything we are trying to do with the page,” Melissa Turley, the section’s editor, said. “The paper was tired of trying to squeeze arts content in Thursday’s issue and life content in Monday’s. Culture publishes every issue and gives us the flexibility to publish the best stories instead of the best fitting stories.”

Editor in chief Lauren French and the 2010-2011 arts editor Caroline Bowman launched the section in January, a major change to the 107-year-old paper, which has published two feature sections for more than a decade.

“It has a lot of potential,” Bowman, now The Hatchet’s senior editor, said. “The page is still new, so as a paper, we are working on ways to make it better, but overall the flexibility has already enhanced our coverage.”

Turley has extensive plans to expand the focus outside of Foggy Bottom, looking to the greater D.C. community. She also plans to use The Hatchet’s blogs as a weekend guide for students.

She said the culture section will hopefully be a resource that “gives students a look at the heart of GW, Foggy Bottom and the District.”

Now past the beginning stage, Turley said the next step is to evaluate the columns that appeared in the past. The sex column will stay, but less popular columns will be replaced with content students will better connect with, she said.

Amanda Pacitti, the 2008-2009 arts editor, said she thinks the change “can lend itself to more sophisticated reporting.”

“I think that a lot of times you can get constrained by having two specific sections,” she said.

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Making a name for herself with arts and entertainment Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:12:08 +0000

Maura Judkis found her calling covering the arts for The Hatchet. Four years later, her career is blossoming with a new job as a producer for the arts and living section at The Washington Post. The 25-year-old also jetted to California in June to take part in a prestigious 11-day arts writing fellowship. | Michelle Rattiner/Senior Photo Editor

This post is part of The Hatchet’s Summer 2011 Alumni Issue and was written by Elizabeth Traynor.

Maura Judkis never knew severed heads and vibrators would get her so far.

The former special projects and arts editor for The Hatchet, who carved a name for herself as a theater and arts reporter with an eye for the story behind the production, was named a fellow for the National Endowment of the Arts Institute in Theater and Musical Theater in May.

Her talent for reporting behind-the-scenes action, including unusual props like the aforementioned heads and a Victorian-era vibrator, also helped the 2007 graduate land a new job as a producer for the arts and living section at The Washington Post.

“It’s a really big month, it’s a big month of transition. I had a great experience at TBD, one that I wouldn’t trade for the world,” Judkis, 25, said of her former employer, a hyper-local news website in the District. “I’ll definitely come back really energized from the fellowship, with some great experience. It’ll bring me into the new job at the Post with great ideas.”

The prestigious Los Angeles-based fellowship is an 11-day experience for arts journalism writers, editors, broadcast and online producers from across the United States. The immersion program coincides with four theater festivals and conferences in the region. Fellows will attend at least 10 rehearsals and performances, writing about both the works of theater and their experiences for Engine 28, a pop-up online publication named for the fire station the newsroom will be based in. Their work will be edited and critiqued by top arts editors from around the country, led by Jeff Weinstein, editor and former critic for The Village Voice, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Bloomberg News.

Judkis partly credits her prestigious fellowship to the unique role she fills as a theater and arts writer. While many of her peers focus on reviews, Judkis has honed her skills as a features writer, spinning backstage tales that capture an audience.

It’s her knack for finding an interesting topic, coupled with her writing skills, that sets Judkis’ work apart, Sasha Anawalt, the director of the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Journalism and Theater said. Candidates for the fellowship, Anawalt added, were considered as job applicants – those chosen were the journalists editors would hire. Judkis, Anawalt added, was the ideal candidate.

“She’s incredible. She’s the full, total package. She’s been in arts journalism for six years, she knows how to shoot video, edit video, write really well. Who wouldn’t want her on their team?” Anawalt said. “She will drive her own experiences under conditions that are remarkable.”

Taking control of her direction is an experience Judkis is familiar with. She joined TBD before its launch, helping steer the transitioning online publication during its inception and first year of existence. Working with TBD and building it from the ground up was an invaluable experience, Judkis said.

Andrew Beaujon, Judkis’ former editor at TBD, was quick to praise her hard work and drive. He said Judkis is the only person in the Washington area who is a full-time theater reporter, a distinction that not only paved her way to the fellowship and subsequent career opportunities, but one that was also instrumental in shaping the direction and content of TBD. The website announced earlier this year that it would focus on entertainment coverage for its original reporting.

“She’s always had an eye for the small, weird stories that gave an arts scene a little dimension and depth,” Beaujon said. “I think Maura’s a model critic-slash-reporter.”

At the Post, Judkis will cover entertainment and the arts while producing special projects and continuing to evolve the Post’s website.

Prior to her work at TBD, Judkis worked as a freelancer in addition to covering environmental issues for U.S. News and World Report and working as an art critic for The Washington City Paper. Those jobs, she says, not only provided invaluable experience, but were also formative in her development as a blogger and an online journalist.

One publication, however, stands out as a catalyst for all that would follow. Reflecting on her career thus far, Judkis is quick to point to The Hatchet as the springboard for her future in journalism.

“The Hatchet, definitely, was where I sensed that I wanted to write art,” Judkis said. “I felt like that was where my voice made the most sense in the structure of The Hatchet. It was kind of just where I belonged.”

Hatchet continues to lose ad revenue Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:10:46 +0000 This post is part of The Hatchet’s Summer 2011 Alumni Issue and was written by Chelsea Radler.

The Hatchet ended the quarter more than $23,000 in the red, making 2011 the fourth consecutive year the paper posted end-of-the-year losses.

This fiscal year, which ends June 30, The Hatchet sold more than $320,000 in advertisements but even an increase over the previous year’s sales wasn’t enough to cover the paper’s expenses.

“Like most other college publications across the country, The Hatchet has struggled with shortfalls in advertising revenue over the past couple of years,” Evelyn Gardner, the paper’s general manager, said.

The Hatchet’s business office sold almost $20,000 more in advertising than it did during fiscal year 2010, a hopeful indication that the college media market is rebounding after the recession.

“In April, we saw increases in advertising revenue and almost doubled our ad revenue for May over this same time last year. We are hopeful that this is a sign of a prosperous new fiscal year for The Hatchet,” Gardner said.

Area student newspapers were hit hard in the last four years. The Eagle, the independent student newspaper at American University cut back to a once-a-week publishing schedule and shed most of its paid staff. The Hoya, Georgetown’s student paper, is fighting for its independence but also faces financial issues and cut back its staff.

The Hatchet saw more eight-page issues published this year, a size change that reflected the expense of printing, editor in chief Lauren French noted.

“We run a business as well as a newspaper,” French said. “We often have great content that really deserves to be in the paper, but with the cost of printing two extra pages, you have to question money over paper size.”

Louis Nelson, former sports editor, traveled as far as Oregon last year to cover the University men’s basketball team, but he often worried about expenses.

Nelson estimated that the sports budget tumbled from $7,000 to $2,000 in the past five years.

“Traveling with a basketball team is expensive and difficult. It’s unfortunate that The Hatchet doesn’t have the money it used to,” he said.

Watch this space! Sat, 28 May 2011 23:13:10 +0000 Fellow alumnus,

Stay tuned ­– this space, and the face of The Hatchet Alumni Association – are about to radically change. As you’ve hopefully heard, we’re in the midst of building an ambitious new group that will reconnect alumni and officially form a strong community of Hatcheteers throughout the world.

Throughout the last few months, we’ve reached out to hundreds of alumni with the hopes of learning from your ideas and aspirations. We distributed a survey to every alumnus in our records and conducted a town hall meeting in D.C to hear more suggestions.  Along the way, we’ve been continuously inspired by the enthusiasm and passion Hatchet alumni share for the paper that changed so much of their lives.

We’ll have more to say soon, but if you’ve got any questions in the interim, please email us.