Matt Stone and Hattie Stahl

By Olivia Provan and Reilly Pruitt

As the semester draws to a close The Mac Weekly staff is preparing to say goodbye to two of our most crucial members. Hattie Stahl, managing editor, and Matt Stone, editor in chief, are leaving The Mac Weekly and Macalester behind in search of greater things. Overcoming their nerves, we forced Matt and Hattie to put down their tape recorders and reflect on what The Mac Weekly has meant to them.How did you get involved with The Mac Weekly?

MS: I started my first year as a reporter. I had worked on my student paper in high school and decided to keep up my involvement. At the time I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in journalism but I was sure after two solid years of experience at The Mac Weekly. Hard news is my thing.

HS: That’s where we balance each other out. I had also worked in the newspaper in high school, and I accidentally wound up in a journalism class my first year. I kind of fell into features and offered to help with layout the next semester. There was an opening for opinion editor for the fall so we decided to take it.

MS: It was our first experience working together.
HS: We’ve always worked together.

MS: Yeah, but Hattie doesn’t want to go into journalism.

HS: I’m not as inclined to write news as Matt is.
MS: And I’m not as inclined to write beautifully like Hattie.

What’s your fondest Mac Weekly memory?

MS: I can remember this fall when Hattie and I were finally taking charge of the magazine. There must have been at least 25 different versions of the cover page. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but there was a good energy to it.

HS: We both went into being opinion editors with a lot of energy. The first night we were there until 4 a.m., which I was not ready to do for the rest of my Wednesdays at Macalester.
MS: That’s actually a pretty early night.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do for the paper? Matt, we heard you once had to write five articles for one week?
HS: I would say that the hardest part, from the news perspective, is always thinking about the paper. It’s not something that can go to bed when you go to bed on Thursday mornings – there are still e-mails to answer and people to get in touch with.

MS: When I go to bed on Thursday mornings (after layout), I usually dream about the paper. Sometimes I have very neurotic nightmares. It’s hard to put the paper to bed and continue to live your life. It throws the sleep off, but I have gotten used to it. Certainly anyone who knows me knows it dominates my life during the week. I can’t really seem to get away from the paper because people identify me with it. It’s not just Matt, but also The Mac Weekly.
HS: I’ve definitely had people come up to me at parties and ask about articles.

What are your hopes for the paper’s future?

MS: I really hope the paper can continue to have a serious focus on news and a dogged eye for covering campus events and debates and deliberations, for things that are both public and not public. We don’t always accomplish that, but it has always been my goal. I would also like to see the web aspect expand.

HS: I agree, and I’m also excited to see how design continues to improve as we get new design editors. I’d like to see the magazine continue to improve.

What will you miss most after graduating at the end of the semester?

MS: It’s scary to think of that in terms of the next couple weeks, but certainly the great professors and friends. It will be a shame to not be living close to campus. And Wednesday nights will take on a different meaning.

HS: I keep trying to think about what I’m going to miss, but I don’t have that much time. I know it will hit me once I’m gone. It will probably be the great people I have come to know here, and a lot of them are in The Mac Weekly office. When you work so closely under such pressure together you form a pretty unique bond.

MS: Mac Weekly staffers come to know each other under a variety of emotional circumstances both unpleasant and pleasant.

Why did you decide to graduate early? Any fears of entering the real world?

HS: I’ll definitely be coming back for graduation. I want that closure with my friends. My decision came about last spring – it was really hard being on campus after working elsewhere for the summer and being abroad the following semester. I had enough credits and it’s a lot less expensive.

MS: I am not sure. There is certainly a big financial incentive. Aside from that I have known that my passion is reporting, and I am looking forward to doing that without classes getting in the way.
HS: I’m also headed to a job that I’ve been doing for the last three summers that I really love.

What are you doing after Macalester?

MS: I have probably limited myself severely of the jobs I can do. Luckily I found something that I wanted. I took a job as a reporter in Augusta, Maine, at the Kennebec Journal. It’s a daily paper with about 15,000 circulation.

HS: I am working with the Appalachia Service Project. It’s an emergency home repair service organization. We do emergency construction repairs for those living below the poverty line.

For those who don’t know, what is special about the walls of the Mac Weekly office? What has been your greatest contribution to the wall?

HS: The Mac Weekly office has no windows, and it can be kind of a depressing place. A long time ago a student started the tradition of writing staffer quotes on the wall – often stupid things said late at night. The wall has been painted over since I’ve been here and new quotes have been put up.

MS: There’s never a lack of quotes. The quotes are not intended to catch you at the best moment. My best contribution to the wall, I took the initiative to draw a window on the wall. To lighten up our spirits both literally and figuratively. HS: Matt and I have a series of quotes on the wall that have been very late at night. A lot of them reflect our different views on how late we should be there.
MS: A few weeks ago, we set a record for the latest time. We were there until 11:30 a.m. in the morning and Hattie wasn’t there.
HS: No, Hattie was not there.

Do you feel that the administration is supportive of the paper?

MS: The administration is supportive of our mission and having a student-run newspaper. We agree that they shouldn’t have a role in determining what goes into our paper. I am also happy we are taken seriously by the administration and the professors. It’s gratifying and reinforces the responsibility you have.

What has been your best/favorite interview?

HS: I wrote the politically incorrect party story last year, and found out about it 36 hours before layout. I spent those 36 hours writing the story. It sounds nerdy, but there’s definitely a rush that comes with the pressure of writing a high
pressure, intense story.

MS: I agree about having a rush. It’s about getting almost a high off of reporting and devoting yourself to a story. I devoted about two weeks of my life to a story about a physics professor who was suing Macalester for discrimination. I didn’t really enjoy the topic, but I was proud of myself for having made that first phone call to the professor. I had to do a lot of research. You know certain stories will actually have an impact on people. It’s a responsibility to realize the potential impact the story will have on the people you are writing about.
HS: The last thing you want to do when you’re writing a story like that is get something wrong.

Is it hard when people criticize The Mac Weekly?

HS: I think it’s harder for me not to take it personally when people criticize the paper without doing anything. At least when people write editorials they’re taking the time to do something about it and take action.

MS: When people do take the time to lodge a legitimate compliant even though it can be hard to deal with the fact you made an error, it’s nice to know people take you seriously. When
people criticize it as an entity it’s much harder. It implies that it’s an inaccessible institution, which it isn’t. The Mac Weekly is the people behind it and there is no limitation and we are always open.

How would your Macalester experience have been different had you not been in The Mac Weekly?

MS: I don’t know what I would have done with my life. When I think about life without Mac Weekly I am always at a loss. I certainly understand Macalester a lot better, and without The Mac Weekly I probably wouldn’t know half as many people.

HS: I would’ve gotten a lot more sleep. Maybe I would’ve seen my housemates more.

Any regrets in sacrificing all of your Wednesday nights?

HS: Well, I think a part of me is sad that I’ve never gotten to go to The Tap. Sometimes I think it would be nice to look forward to Fridays and realize I have three more nights to write a paper, instead of losing Wednesdays. But in the end it’s really been a lot of fun.

MS: Overall I have no regrets of resigning myself to giving my Wednesday nights up in what we call “The Dungeon.” Sometimes we are there for 12 to 15 hours. We have to keep going because if you don’t no one else will. But no regrets. It’s worth it in the end.
HS: I’m definitely impressed by Matt’s ability to keep going at four in the morning. That’s when I turn off. My roommates look at me on Wednesday afternoons and say, “see you tomorrow?