GW has a heritage of rich, lively student publications. Like most college and university students, those at GW are driven to communicate information, to share and debate ideas and the issues of the day, and to display their creativity.
The first student newspaper, the Columbian Call, was published from 1895 to 1902 (the university was named “Columbian University” at that time). After languishing for a few years, the concept of a student newspaper reemerged in 1904 at the instigation of university President Charles W. Needham with the publication of The Weekly Columbian, the first continuously published student newspaper. Needham realized that the student body could be unified and inspired by such a vehicle. When the university became The George Washington University in 1904, the newspaper was renamed The University Hatchet, a reference to legends surrounding the university’s namesake and, perhaps, a hint of a more aggressive editorial policy. The Hatchet lives on as the second oldest surviving newspaper in Washington, D.C.
Over the years, many student published magazines, journals and reviews have come and gone. Independence Magazine was launched in the 1980’s, but ceased publication in 1998. The GW Journal had a run of two years, from 2000-2002. Undoubtedly many new vehicles for student communications will appear and then fade in the intellectual and social life of GW.
Current student publications run the gamut from straight information to opinion to creative expression. They include:
Founded in 1904 as The University Hatchet, but now known simply as The Hatchet, the paper is both editorially and financially independent. It reports on university activities, student life, GW athletics, Washington area happenings, and college life nationally. Throughout its existence, The Hatchet has continued to fulfill its purpose of uniting the student body and encouraging campus spirit. As noted, it is the second oldest newspaper in the nation’s capitol. It has a paid staff of 35 and a volunteer staff of 100, publishing two issues each week. Breaking news is published on the paper’s Web site. The Hatchet was recognized as the best non-daily college newspaper in the country for 2003-2004 by the Society of Professional Journalists, and has won the Pacemaker Award of the Associated College Press in 2005 and 2008. Five Pulitzer Prize winners are alumni of The Hatchet. It is a produced by Hatchet Publications, Inc., an independent non-profit corporation.
The Cherry Tree
The university’s first student yearbook, published in 1890, was called The Columbiad, from The Columbian University name. This was shortened to The C in 1904, then evolved into The Mall in 1908, reflecting GW’s Washington location. In 1908, a student suggested the name The Cherry Tree, making a connection to another aspect of a George Washington legend (see The Hatchet). This name remains in use today.
The Cherry Tree is distributed free to all GW seniors as a gift from the GW Alumni Association, and is distributed in the fall after graduation. Each edition is planned, designed, edited, illustrated, and produced by GW students, with job titles and responsibilities rotating annually. The Cherry Tree’s student publishers have as their mission the facilitation of a greater sense of a GW community, to build unity and cohesion among the university’s departments, and to build and foster memories of the academic achievements, social lives, and school spirit of GW’s graduates. Each edition features portraits of graduating seniors, along with a written and photographic record of notable achievements – academic, social, and athletic.
Whimsically named for yet another George Washington legend, Wooden Teeth is GW’s premier visual arts and literary student publication, soliciting contributions from GW students, faculty, and staff of both written and visual works. Beginning life in the 1970’s as the Rock Creek Review, Wooden Teeth is now published bi-annually at the end of each spring and fall semester. The editors court controversial and cutting-edge contributions, seeking to push boundaries in literature and the arts, while not lapsing into sensationalism. The editors are highly selective, often rejecting up to 90 percent of submissions in order to guarantee a high level of quality. Wooden Teeth also sponsors monthly on-campus performances and readings of poetry, short stories and songs in order to foster creative and critical thinking about the arts in the GW community.
The G.W. Review
The G.W. Review, entirely student-run literary magazine, with national and international reach, is published annually. Each issue consists of 100 pages containing works of poetry, fiction, and art as well as interviews with local writers and artists. The Review holds an annual Senior Contest for contributions that also may be published. The G.W. Review’s mission is to provide students with the opportunity to learn editorial and design skills through participation in weekly meetings on fiction and poetry, as well as training students in the use of several design programs during the layout process. Working on The Review offers a unique hands-on experience in working in publishing beyond the university, and the opportunity to become involved and active in GW’s literary community. The G.W. Review also holds “Coffeehouses,” readings, in conjunction with Wooden Teeth and other organizations to promote interest and participation in GW's art community, and to offer students popular on-campus, alcohol-free events.