A tip of the editor’s hat to the 2009 – 2010 staff

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March 26, 2010

3:41 AM

There isn’t much that’s normal about spending countless hours on Monday and Thursday nights in the Campus Center basement, or devoting time during the weekend to cover an 8 a.m. Williamsburg City Council meeting or a gymnastics meet.

But the term “normal college student” doesn’t apply to Flat Hat staffers. This is by far the most inquisitive, loyal and resilient collection of students that the College of William and Mary has to offer, and I am proud to have gotten to know these people during my time with the paper.

Being on staff at a newspaper can be a thankless job. But as full-time students and journalists, the members of this year’s staff have shown unwavering dedication to the paper. Their work is more than deserving of praise, and it is my honor to give it to them.

Over the past year, each day has presented new challenges to this staff, and every time the staff has responded. Whether by innovating The Flat Hat’s print and online editions, or by continuing to update the College’s news cycle with informative and timely articles, the 99th volume of The Flat Hat has truly been one of its best.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the continued dedication of the outgoing online and executive editors, Alex Guillén ’10 and Ashley Morgan ’10.

During his four years at The Flat Hat, Alex has shown a passion and drive for journalism that is unrivaled at this school. After spending a successful year as news editor, Alex became the paper’s online editor, where his original thinking spurred the creation of new blogs and multimedia content, which helped boost The Flat Hat’s online presence. Since the start of the year, Alex has helped manage the News section, lending his wisdom once again to the print edition.

Ashley possesses the greatest wealth of grammar, AP style, and Flat Hat knowledge on staff. She helped facilitate the combination of the reviews and variety sections as variety editor her junior year, but Ashley truly excelled this year as executive editor. Her ability to remain levelheaded, organized and encouraging at all times not only kept up staff morale, but also left me certain that any task assigned to her would be accomplished promptly and without fault.

In addition to Ashley and Alex, I was also honored to count Sam Sutton ’11 as a member of The Flat Hat’s executive staff. During his time as managing editor, Sam developed an excellent eye for layout, bringing new design ideas to the paper’s news and sports sections. But, his greatest talent lies in his ability to expertly comprehend and report on the most difficult stories. He will be able to do much more of that next year as The Flat Hat’s chief staff writer, and I speak for everyone when I say that we can’t wait to read what he digs up.

Jessica Gold ’11, Matt Poms ’11 and Russ Zerbo ’11 will be taking over as executive, managing and online editors, respectively.

When Jessica returned from a semester abroad in Patagonia in August, she was thrown directly into the fire as the paper’s lone variety editor. Jessica responded by developing some of the most interesting and visually creative layouts in recent memory, and she did so with a limited staff and an excellent attitude. For these reasons, Jessica is the perfect fit for executive editor. Her positive thinking and imaginative ideas will be able to influence directly not just the variety and opinions sections, but the paper as a whole.

Although he may be ridiculed by the staff at times, Matt has had one of the most successful tenures as a section editor in recent memory. His breadth of knowledge on all things athletic at the College — and the inside sources that he guards with close secrecy — has led to excellent reporting and even better layout within the sports section. As managing editor, Matt will take his experience to the sports and news sections, where his curious nature will help both sections thrive.

Russ’s time as opinions editor was marked with bipartisan editorials which touched on topics ranging from student life to the federal government. Through it all, he met every deadline and produced an engaging and entertaining page. The lessons he learned with opinions will serve him well as the paper’s next online editor, where he will have the ability to create content similar to his already-popular Student Assembly blog, “The Zerbo Zone.”

Eight other regular contributors to the paper will be graduating in May.

Andy Henderson ’10 took the muddled ideas of the paper’s editorial board and week after week turned them into engaging and insightful staff editorials as the paper’s editorial writer.

Vicky Chao ’10 consistently produced hilarious and perceptive cartoons that ran on the paper’s opinions page. Her high quality work and attention to detail will be missed next year.

Maya Horowitz ’10 made us squirm and think every week during her two years as the sex columnist. While she pushed the envelope with each column, she did it with a welcoming style of writing that made her insight accessible to all.

On top of her work as a copy editor, Chelsea Caumont ’10 became the paper’s first staffer devoted to managing and updating The Pulse. She excelled in this task, continuously updating The Pulse with interesting tidbits and anecdotes relating to the College.

Usually seniors not already involved in the paper don’t work too hard to join in, but Mary Bonney ’10 stepped up as an associate variety editor this year — just when she was badly needed. Mary’s work helped ensure that the variety section was completed each week, and her ideas helped improve variety’s content.

Leah Fry ’10 served on the copy staff for four years, moving up to the position of copy chief this past year. Her cheerful and patient demeanor brought an air of calm to an often hectic newsroom.

Karsten Thot ’10 will leave us after spending a year as a copy editor, while Summer Finck’s ’10 graduation will correspond nicely with the conclusion of the ABC series “Lost,” which she has chronicled in her blog on the show.

The thing I love most about working on a newspaper is that each issue represents a blank slate. Forty-nine times throughout the school year, The Flat Hat creates a unique and independent product in the span of just a few days. While the task is daunting, it is also strangely liberating. Nothing that came before an issue and nothing that may happen after has any bearing.

It is the challenge to stay fresh and ahead of the curve which keeps the wheels of The Flat Hat in motion, and ensures we stay motivated to start each issue with a renewed fervor. For another year, this task now falls to a new staff.

Ian Brickey ’11 assumes the role of news editor after serving as an associate with the section this year. Ian’s loyal and dedicated service to the paper was unparalleled this year, as he routinely tackled breaking stories on top of his normal duties. His sharp writing skills and easy demeanor will serve the news section well.

Maggie Reeb ’11 will become the paper’s first staff resources manager, where she will be charged with improving the paper’s outreach efforts and getting students interested in writing. She is battle-tested, after having spent a grueling year heading the news section, and we are all grateful for her service to the paper.

After two years as photos editor, Caitlin Fairchild ’11 will shift over to become the paper’s art director. Caitlin has worked closely with each section to ensure art and photography are maximized throughout the paper, and she will continue to do so in her new capacity.

Ellie Kaufman ’13 will assume leadership of the variety section. She proved herself throughout the year to be an excellent writer and dependable staffer as a variety associate, and she will continue to improve as head of the section.

Jack Lambert ’11 and Mike Barnes ’13 will take over the sports section. Both have written insightful stories on Tribe athletics this year, and they have already displayed an ability to make innovative changes to the section.

Devin Braun ’12 will serve as opinions editor. Since joining the staff earlier this semester, Devin has quickly learned the ins and outs of the section and proven that he will be a capable arbiter of the paper’s opinions page.

Continuing in the tradition of long-standing copy chiefs, Katie Lee ’11 returns to that role for another year. Her sharp eye for grammar and delicious cookie cakes will be enjoyed by another round of Flat Hat staffers.

Sun Park ’12 will take over as photos editor, a position for which she is more than qualified after spending a year as a photos associate. Sun’s tremendous visual eye and fisheye lens will ensure that the paper remains visually pleasing.

Kelsey Weissgold ’12, in perhaps the most under-appreciated role at the paper, will continue as business manager. Under her direction, The Flat Hat has taken tremendous strides in selling ads and generating revenue during a tough economic time.

Stephanie Hubbard ’13 will be rising to the occasion to serve as the staff’s second copy chief.

Adam Goodreau ’11 will continue his tenure as web director. The task of creating a news website from scratch is not easy, and he will keep plugging away at this over the next year.

Olivia Walch’s ’11 unique and insightful cartoons will continue to appear throughout the paper for another year.

Kevin Mooney ’11 will take over as The Flat Hat’s editorial writer, the author of the staff editorial that appears in each issue. He’s already done some great work during his short time in this position.

I believe the paper has its best possible leader in my replacement, Mike Crump ’11. Before spending a semester abroad in China and with little previous knowledge, Mike took control of the variety section. He immediately developed interesting stories and layouts. He then took his abilities to the news section, where he was a calming presence and exceptional editor this semester. But I am confident that Mike’s best days on staff are ahead of him. He is a leader that understands how to get the most out of his peers, and that gift will be on full display during his tenure as editor-in-chief.

I can’t think of a better person, or a better staff, to lead The Flat Hat into its 100th volume.

Miles Hilder ’10, outgoing editor-in-chief

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