From mocking President Martha E. Pollack’s new job on IBM’s board of directors to making fun of Cornell’s snow day policies, a group of undergraduate students have made satire their mission while observing and reporting on campus happenings around them.
Modeled after The Onion, Cornell’s own satirical publication CU Nooz publishes stories based on current news stories or events that might be relevant to their fellow students, according to co-editors-in-chief Sam Ringel ’20 and Julia Herrmann ’19.
“We are a comedy club that writes. It’s a place if you want to get better at satire, or understand what’s going on at Cornell better, or have a fun time with some cool satire writers,” Ringel told The Sun in an interview.
Since its fall 2013 founding, CU Nooz has been regularly publishing stories. Despite having a relatively small staff of 10 to 15 members, Herrmann said CU Nooz always actively recruits members of all ages and majors.
“There are people that come in with comedy experience, there are people that come in with no comedy experience,” Ringel said.
Herrmann continued, “We have people who aren’t writers, who are in engineering, who are in whatever. The first funny thing I ever wrote was my application for CU Nooz.”
The ideas usually come out of a weekly meeting, where writers pitch ideas and go over recent news and events. Then, they will try to “make fun of them in a new way,” Herrmann said.
“Every writer has their own way of going about thinking of what the best take might be for an issue … the more you notice things that are strange or commonplace and accepted but shouldn’t be, then there are a lot of things to mock,” Herrmann continued.
According to Ringel and Herrmann, working for a satirical publication gives writers the ability to look at various issues or aspects of student life and the university from new perspectives.
“Satire is making an insight about something and talking about it in a funny way. That’s what we try to do — observe what’s around us and do it in different ways,” Ringel said. “When something big happens and we can do something that gives a critical insight or new lens to look at it, humor is a great way to do that.”
CU Nooz has even gotten some national attention, mentioned in The New York Times for their article making fun of the condition of the Low and High Rise dorms on North Campus.
With so many articles mocking the administration or various Cornell policies, such as the article lampooning the crackdown on Greek houses last year, there has been no official pushback from the University.
When questioned about whether the University had responded to the site, Ringel said, “We haven’t, and it’s very heartening to see that they are open to our criticism and/or don’t read our articles.”