GW Hatchet Editor: ‘Don’t Adjust Your Set. There’s Nothing Wrong with Your Newspaper’

New font. New nameplate. Around-the-clock digital coverage. “Deeper stories and sharper analysis.” And a “zero-cramming policy” for content in print. All hail The GW Hatchet 2.0.

The redesigned student newspaper at George Washington University premiered in print yesterday with a lively front-page look at an upcoming $1 billion university fundraising campaign. The image of the construction crane above the fold and just below the nameplate perfectly symbolizes the paper’s own reinvention efforts this past summer — aimed at keeping the pub financially, editorially and digitally robust.

1

The product that has emerged is different enough from the Hatchets of old that editor-in-chief Cory Weinberg felt compelled to lightheartedly warn readers in a blog post, “Don’t adjust your set. There’s nothing wrong with your morning newspaper.”

The hard copy Hatchet is now weekly instead of twice-weekly. In many spots it sports “a magazine flair to complement a traditional newspaper look” that includes “more room for graphics, pullouts and other features that connect the dots on stories.”

2

As Hatchet design editor extraordinaire Jenna Bernick tells me:

Our idea for a redesign mainly came from what we saw as a need to modernize, and it fit perfectly with our transition to weekly. Our design wasn’t bad, but it looked old. Our goal was to create a cleaner, less crowded looking Hatchet with a more modern style, which I think we’ve achieved mainly through cutting the number of stories we publish in print and through our new use of natural borders with space rather than with physical lines. Because most of our readers are online (and that’s no longer something we’re in denial about), we are treating our weekly issue as more of a showcase for our more in-depth, longer stories, which also allows for a higher page count. We’ve cut down on the amount of stories we’re trying to cram in the paper (in fact, there will be a zero-cramming policy) and are looking to include a cover story style design on all of our front pages.

Along with the print transformations, the staff’s focus has been on upping the paper’s online A-game. According to Weinberg, the digital Hatchet is now the outlet’s driving engine.

As he writes, “Readers are increasingly reaching us on the web. The Hatchet generated about 50 percent more unique visitors last year, with nearly twice as many people reading stories on their mobile devices. This change will allow us to deliver more news to readers in real time, in the medium they frequent, rather than in batches two days a week.”

Related

Student Journalist Spotlight: Priya Anand, Editor-in-Chief, The GW Hatchet

George Washington Hatchet Sets Up Special ‘Election Guide 2012′ Website

Comments
One Response to “GW Hatchet Editor: ‘Don’t Adjust Your Set. There’s Nothing Wrong with Your Newspaper’”
Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] team already doing some of the bolder print designs in college media. Blogs on news design and college media have written about our print redesign, which launched in […]