To say that the University doesn't heavily favor the GW Hatchet, GWTV, and WRGW over all other student news organizations would be a blatant lie. Now, I'm giving GWTV and WRGW a free pass here, because they have a monopoly on their forms on news distribution, and don't claim to be independent. But the Hatchet is different. They sit in their white tower of "independence," and yet are clearly favored by, and get insider treatment from, the University. Do you want to be this University's official newspaper? Fine. Do it. But don't try to call yourself independent in the mean time.
Yes, yes, I get it, they are run not under the auspices of the university, and technically can print anything they want, but there is something amiss here. The GW Hatchet is supposed to serve as a the information source for and voice of the students of GW, not a mouth piece of the university. But when that "independent" newspaper comes to have a close, intimate relationship with the institution they are supposed to be turning a critical eye on, they cannot possibly be doing a good job. I understand the desire to get good scoops, but I think the Hatchet is sacrificing too much for it.
What spurned this outrage from me, you may ask. Well, as I am sure you were all excited to hear, President Obama and Attorney General Holder will be coming to do some ceremonial swearing in at Lisner Auditorium this week. Ok, now go look for the same story here at GWBlogspot. I'll wait while you look.
Want to try the Daily Colonial?
The GW Patriot?
Wait, no, I know, let's go to the source. Check the press release! Here, try google!
Nothing? Huh. It seems that the University has given this scoop and made themselves available solely to the Hatchet. Don't believe me? Guess which is the only student press (Besides GWTV) given access to the event.
That's right, it's the Hatchet.
Now, we at GWBlogspot don't pretend to be perfect. We think our little corner of the web serves its purpose, and we hope to maintain some journalistic integrity as we work to be a voice to GW Students. Do we always succeed? Of course not. But we don't pretend that we do.
There's a certain sense of entitlement that comes with working at The Hatchet, that I think is working against them. As the biggest student newspaper, and the only one published as often as they are, the reporters, researchers, and editors there have become disconnected from what is going on here with the little people of GW. They forget that their newspaper isn't the be all, end all of student news, and refuse to work with other news organizations. And this hurts them. When all of your news and tips come from the university, you're in dangerous territory. Your reporting may be great, but if you're not reporting what's important to students, it doesn't matter.
I, personally, think the Hatchet could be an invaluable asset to the students of GW. It would given a forum to create a discourse on the problems facing GW students, and would allow them a way to organize with other students to fight for what we need. Instead, the paper has become watered down and useless; so concerned with keeping its ties to the information lines in the university that it refuses to challenge the status quo. I don't expect Woodward and Berstein from the Hatchet, but there are legitimate issues facing GW students today that are going unrecognized. If you're going to claim to be "independent," you better be darn sure to stand up when the students of GW need a voice.
Until then, I encourage you to avoid the conglomerate that the Hatchet has become. We at GW are lucky enough to have many other student media outlets, ones that are smaller and legitimately have an ear to the issues facing GW students. Make sure to check out the Daily Colonial, the GW Patriot, and Inside the SA, and keep updated here at the GWBlogspot.
In the mean time, stay informed, stay active, and make your voice heard.