Priya Anand is “addicted to coffee, indifferent toward sleep and obsessed with finding the story.” To be clear about the first entry on that list, Anand has no room in her life for what she calls “sissy coffee.”
Same goes for her journalism.
The campus newspaper she runs at George Washington University recently earned high praise for its courageous coverage. As InTheCapital shared, “I can think of no better recent example of a college student newspaper with, well, balls than The GW Hatchet for taking the initiative and airing the issues those who reside on campus grounds have felt most strongly about.”
Anand, the Hatchet’s editor-in-chief, has been taking the journalism initiative throughout her time at GW.
Along with her campus publication experience and classroom work as a journalism & mass communication major, the 21-year-old Morganville, N.J., native has put in time at the New York Daily News and Houston Chronicle — not to mention the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Anand: “addicted to coffee, indifferent toward sleep and obsessed with finding the story.”
In the Q&A below, she discusses her questioning nature as a kid, getting into a screaming match with a police officer, and the difficulty of separating herself from a paper she loves.
Q: Write a six-word memoir of your student journalism adventures so far.
A: Stress is a figment of imagination.
Q: Where does your journalism passion come from?
A: I can sort of root my passion for reporting back to the fact that as a kid, I constantly questioned my parents about their decisions. But I don’t have one of those romantic stories about how I would roam around with a notebook as a 5-year-old. I fell in love with journalism when I started working at the Hatchet freshman year. I’m now addicted to coffee, indifferent toward sleep, and obsessed with finding the story.
Q: What is a particularly standout memory from your time at the paper?
A: About a year and a half ago, a D.C. police officer refused to give me a public record and we ended up in a shouting match at the station. It wasn’t funny at the time, but it is now: He was three times my size and I left with the report. On a serious note, though, it was incredible to see our entire Hatchet team pool together to cover the Election last fall and then hunker down at our office at 2 a.m. to file stories.
Q: What is the most challenging part of being top editor?
A: I love this newspaper. That makes it incredibly difficult to remind myself I’m also a student, or that it’s OK to pull away from email for a few minutes during a family dinner over break.
Q: What advice do you have for students similarly aspiring to be editors-in-chief?
A: Find stories that matter. News shouldn’t be inconsequential, and if you don’t ask the tough questions, nobody else will. And don’t take any bull[crap] for being young.
Q: What is one question we should be asking much more often about journalism?
A: Well, since I have to give up this job in May, right now all I’m asking is, “What can I do to get you to hire me?” But aside from that, how can we equip budding journalists with all the data skills and news values they need to make a positive impact on the world? It’s incredibly important for reporters to be unafraid of parsing through hundreds of pages of documents, or thousands of Excel cells– especially when we are often outnumbered by people who want to spin the story.
Q: You wake up in 10 years. Where are you and what are you doing?
A: Reporting. Ideally, my job will involve a lot of travel. My parents taught me Hindi and Punjabi as a kid, and I took three years of Arabic at GW. I’d like a chance to actually practice those languages. I really hope I can’t predict more about my future life than that.
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