Staffer of the Week: Braden McDonald

Once a week, The Hoya recognizes a staffer that has done a particularly awesome job — now you can get to know about them, too. As part of our Leavey 421 series, we’ll be posting quick interviews with each Staffer of the Week! This week, Braden McDonald went above and beyond the call of duty and produced an exciting feature that, when being read, can only be described as pure ecstasy.

woodward2 copyName Braden McDonald
School College
Year 2014
Major Government
Hometown Ottawa, Canada
Position on The Hoya Board member; former executive editor

Why did you earn Staffer of the Week?

I think I earned it for writing the DT (double-truck, or main feature in The Guide) for this week. It was about MDMA — its highs and lows and its culture at Georgetown and colleges nationwide. I greatly enjoyed doing it. But Griffin Cohen, one of our freshman writers, did exceptional work interviewing sources because I’ve been so busy with the recruitment crunch, studying for the LSAT, etc. The feature simply would not have been possible without his industry.

What have you been most proud of while working for The Hoya?

By this point, my pride in The Hoya is just innate and unconditional, kind of like how one is patriotic to one’s country. It’s become part of me and my identity. But I think what I’m most proud of is our commitment as a mature, well-structured institution to make decisions systematically and responsibly, based on a set of guiding principles. We’re well run, and we’re accountable to our stakeholders.

You’re a fan of the Oxford comma. Defend its usage. 

The Oxford comma is the difference between life and death, saint and pedophile, incest and … non-incest. A few weeks ago for the weekly trivia question (Writers note: Each week, Hoya Staffers receive a copy of the week’s board meeting minutes. At the end, Braden includes a trivia question that, if answered correctly, wins the answerer a prize!), I asked people to submit responses “create a sentence in which the presence of an Oxford comma is
essential to clarifying meaning/its omission might imperil the speaker.” I received some excellent — and illustrative — responses, which I’ll quote here:

I just had a riveting discussion about the Hindu gods, Elmo and Mario. – Zack Gordon

Let me introduce you to my parents, Joe and God – AJ Brown

Meet Enrique, my cousin and my fiancé. ;) – Mariah Byrne [the winner]

You’re on a plane sitting next to Derek Zoolander and Ron Burgundy. All of a sudden, the plane hits violent turbulence and the cabin becomes depressurized. Then, only two air masks drop down! One is for yourself, and now you must choose to save one outrageous movie character. Who gets the air mask and why?

Good thing we’re doing this interview via email because I had to Google Ron Burgundy. Yes, I live under a rock, and no, I didn’t really have a childhood. I did recognize Ron Burgundy when I Googled him, to my credit. He annoys the bejesus out of me so I’d happily let him die in those circumstances. Zoolander is adorable.

What was your favorite Disney movie growing up and why?

Believe it or not, I actually did watch some Disney films as a child. Maybe The Lion King, because I was obsessed with Elton John growing up. Or maybe 101 Dalmatians. I thought Cruella was just so fabulous. Or Peter Pan. There was something intoxicating about Neverland. Maybe I did have a childhood after all.


And now you have another Staffer of the Week award, too!

Staffer of the Week: Braden McDonald

Braden McDonald (Executive Editor) and his dream team counterpart Victoria Edel (Managing Editor)

Name Braden McDonald
School College
Year 2014
Major Government
Hometown Ottawa, Canada
Position on The Hoya Executive Editor

What did you do to earn Staffer of the Week?

There were a lot of people who did a lot of excellent things this week, so there were numerous people given due credit in honorable mentions. I think Hiromi Oka (City News Editor) did a great job covering the tragedy in Boston. She got really deep into and was working extremely hard, and the same went for her coverage of the Dahlgren vandalism. I’m really humbled to have received it. I think it’s a testament to my trend of quirky vocabulary and commitment to this paper. And I’ve never heard the term “giving friendship” before (a reason why he received the award), but I do like to think of myself as a good friend. (Editor’s note: he’s much too modest. He received this award for all of his outstanding work this semester as Executive Editor.)

What’s your favorite part about working for The Hoya?

I like how it has this effect on people, including me, where it overpowers you and you become subservient to it and you love it without even thinking of it. It happens very gradually, yet very forcefully, and it stays with you for a long time.

If you could pick someone on The Hoya to write your biography, who would it be, what would the biography be titled, and what would it say on page 37?

Well, page 37 would be blank because there wouldn’t be that much to say (Writer’s note: he’s being modest again!) I would actually ask Zoe Bertrand (Layout Editor) to write my biography because she always jokes that she doesn’t do words, and I want to set the record straight that she can write English well even though she’s a layout-maestra. I always look at biographies in Barnes & Noble and they’re named such underwhelming things – wasn’t there one about Bill Clinton called A Life or something? I find myself in a similar position to those individuals without compelling titles for their lives, but given the need to sell and the need to appeal to the masses, I would title mine #thatshitBray. And you can add a “421”  at the end for special Hoya editions, and that’s the name of my twitter account because there was already some “Bray” out there saying crazy things. It would be good for Hoya exclusivity.

This week happens to be Hoya Spirit Week in the office, and tonight’s theme was “Dress Up Like a Hoya Staffer.” You’re currently dressed up as Eitan (Sayag, Deputy News Editor), so how would you describe Eitan’s style?

It’s a very noticeable style because he seems to cycle through a formidable rainbow of pants every week. And he mixes it up. It’s not like on a Monday he’s always wearing yellow or on a Wednesday he’s always wearing teal. But it is pretty consistent, and he’ll wear each pair of pants once a week. I really like his style because the cut of his pants is very modern and even though he experiments with wild colors, everything always matches, and I respect that. I asked Eitan for the story behind how his wardrobe came to be and he said basically he has these distinct colors so he can remember which day of the week it is. I thought it was a fable more than anything, but it was a clever answer and it stayed with me.

If you could play Cupid and set up two Hoya staffers to date, who would you shoot with your golden “love” arrows?

Peitan, (Penny Hung and Eitan Sayag, current Deputy News Editors. Soon to be City and Campus News senior editors respectively) no question. I doubt this comes as a surprise to many people — let’s be real, they already have a collective name — except maybe to them. Everyone has been whispering for months that they should date, surely inspired by their cute cohesion as campus news deputies this semester. Sorry if this is awkward, guys, but I have every confidence that this tabloidism won’t get in the way of your ongoing solidarity as senior news editors next semester.