When I sat down to write this, my farewell to The Flat Hat, I chose to find a witty, heartfelt anecdote to sum up my time at the paper. I could talk about my fear the first time I walked into the office or how the executive editor’s compliment on my headline-writing skills hooked me. I could go on about the stories that made me reevaluate how I saw the College of William and Mary, the pains of removing countless Oxford commas and the very specific pleasure of figuring out just the right design at the exact moment you need it.
When it comes down to it, however, there’s really only one thing to talk about — the people. When reading The Flat Hat, most people may see mere newsprint or words on a computer screen, but I have been fortunate enough over the past four years to learn that every issue of the paper does not just mean a few hundred words slapped together and printed, but hours upon hours of hard work from some of the smartest, hardest working, most dedicated people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Without credit, pay, an advisor or really a decent lighting system, they produce eight pages of newsprint and corresponding online content twice a week, every week.
For a long time, my Flat Hat motto has been “It always gets made,” referring to the somewhat mystical way in which an issue can seem impossible on a Wednesday afternoon and be sent off to the presses by very early Friday morning. The teamwork, the effort, the leadership, the compromises and the quick thinking that go into that process are what The Flat Hat is all about, more than any mere anecdote I can give.
The team that has been put together to continue this tradition of dedication is an outstanding one. They have varying levels of experience and different motivations for being a part of the paper, but they share the common thread of caring — about the College, about the students, about newspapers in general. While it might seem like working on the newspaper staff is a great thing to put on a resume, no resume can make you look at a page on InDesign after nine hours in the office at three in the morning and induce you to start over because it could be better. Only caring can do that.
To ensure that the newspaper maintains its readability and consistency (including heavily editing this piece, I’m sure), Rebecca Marshall ’14 and April Smith ’14 will serve as copy chiefs this year. They bring to the position years of experience in navigating the murky waters of writers’ interesting phrasing and questionable punctuation and will surely continue the strong tradition of copy chiefs.
Former Online Editor Zach Hardy ’15 will bring his creative outlook to the position of chief staff writer. Matt Camarda ’16 will step into the position of editorial writer to wrangle together the opinions of the Editorial Board twice a week.
Hayley Tymeson ’15 and Benoit Mathieu ’15 have shown a considerable talent and dedication in photojournalism since they joined the staff and will bring these assets to the role of photo editors for the coming year, bringing the paper alive in a dimension beyond words.
In the role of opinions editor, Zachary Frank ’15 will continue the long tradition of doing amazing things in a minimal space, where his wit will serve him well. Benming Zhang’s ’16 exciting personality will make him another in the line of online editors who think outside of the box on a regular basis.
The sports section finds itself in the very capable hands of Chris Weber ’15 and Jack Powers ’15. Their keen eyes for games as well as page designs will keep the sparkle in the sports section over the next year. They will have the help of former sports editor Jared Foretek ’14 as a production assistant, whose critical eye helped the entire paper this year.
Ainé Cain ’16 joins Abby Boyle ’15 as variety editor this year, bringing a fresh outlook to add to Abby’s creativity and dedication. Sarah Caspari ’15 will be missed as variety editor next year, but her fiery spirit has made her an integral part of the section this year. The variety section is the creative center of the newspaper, and their efforts will build on those of the variety editors of the past.
The largest and busiest section, news, is now in the capable hands of Veronique Barbour ’16 and Annie Curran ’16. While they are both freshmen, they’ve already shown the drive and smarts it takes to make a good news editor.
Three very capable women will lead this team — Ellen Wexler ’15 at executive editor, Meredith Ramey ’15 at managing editor and Katherine Chiglinsky ’14 at editor-in-chief.
Ellen spent this year doing something I thought was impossible — revitalizing opinions. As executive editor she will lead variety, opinions and photos, bringing the same push for progress to those sections that served her well in opinions.
Stepping up to the position of news editor halfway through this year, Meredith made the transition from associate to editor in a way that, frankly, amazed me. Her care and excitement for journalism brought fresh life into her section and will help her oversee news, sports, online and copy in the coming year.
I can’t imagine a better editor-in-chief than Katherine. Her smarts and journalistic mind are matched only by her dedication and hard work. I’ve never worked with a more impressive all-around journalist and editor, who cares not only about reporting and writing but design and production as well. She will lead the paper into a new age while maintaining the standards that have been set by her predecessors.
While the paper may have a stellar cast of editors this coming year, The Flat Hat loses a large class of seniors who have done impressive things in their time here.
Stephanie Hubbard ’13, who served in her position for three years, and Kate Hoptay ’13 saved me, and every writer on this paper, from looking like fools countless times as copy chiefs.
Anita Jiang ’13 came on as photography editor this year and helped to make the paper come alive with images. Our departing editorial writer, Elizabeth Debusk ’13, made sense of many rambling editorial board sessions and turned them into meaningful pieces this year.
Chief Staff Writers Ellie Kaufman ’13 and Chris McKenna ’13 leave behind an impressive legacy for their position, rooted in consistent and in-depth reporting. Although Vanessa Remmers ’12 graduated early, her humor and special brand of brilliance made her time as managing editor unforgettable and invaluable.
The things Mike Barnes ’13 has done for this newspaper cannot be overstated. He served a second term as sports editor this year, after transforming the paper last year as editor-in-chief. The work he did during his tenure as editor-in-chief fundamentally altered aspects of a 100-year-old paper and set a new standard for leadership of this newspaper.
My right-hand woman, Katie Demeria ’13, has played a more important role in the production of The Flat Hat this year than anyone else. She brought to the position of executive editor a caring that helped to make everyone feel at home in the office and created an atmosphere of consideration for others that made the paper run. This came in addition to her impressive skills with writing, design and people management.
While I know all of us are sad to leave, I’m ecstatic to see how the new staff changes and grows along with the paper in the next year. I’d like to have a quippy sign off like they do on television, but since print is the one true medium, I’ll leave the new staff with the most important thing I’ve learned in my four years on The Flat Hat: Make sure you care. And always spell check.