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Black Sheep gives alternative kick to DePaul news

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The Onion and Clickhole vent the hilariously truthful frustrations of everyday life, but now a satirical paper geared at college students has made it to DePaul’s campus.

In 2004, Atish Doshi and Derek Chin started The Booze News, a satirical paper, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“Fast forward a few years and here we are,” Quinn Meyers, the Digital Creative Director of The Black Sheep said.

Now, “here” includes DePaul and 34 other schools throughout the country, as the paper prints under the name The Black Sheep.

The publication recently started printing print issues once a month to distribute at local businesses and on campus, and they rely on advertising in order to support it.

Each print issue is almost entirely the same for every campus, but DePaul’s features some DePaul stories a month, to make it campus-specific.

“My work was in the most recent print edition,” DePaul student Robert DeShazer said. “I wrote ‘The 5 Worst Places to Loudly Murder Someone on Campus’ and ‘The Top 10 ‘Game of Thrones’ Quotes to Use Fall Quarter.’ It’s pretty cool to see your stories in print.”

While there is a corporate team, each different campus paper is run by groups of students at the schools, who find ways to get involved through different mediums. At each campus, The Black Sheep hires writers and a Campus Editor through online applications and an in-person interview.

“I found (The Black Sheep) on Handshake,” Liz Hettler, the Campus Editor of “The Black Sheep” at DePaul, said. “I interviewed for the position and fell in love with the idea of managing a group of funny writers with a kick of sass.”

The DePaul writers get together once a week to come up with story ideas, which are normally inspired from being observant on campus or mocking things that have personally happened to them.

“I find ways to secretly talk about things that have happened to me without giving away that it happened to me,” DePaul student Clyde Stansbury said.

“I take things that I see going on on campus, or events that happen in popular culture and focus my writing on that,” DeShazer said. “I start with a basic story, then fill it in with jokes and such that help progress the story from point a to point b.”

Some of the writers for The Black Sheep credit the relatability — being campus specific — as to what makes good satire.

“We are writing satire for a specific group of people, that being DePaul students,” DeShazer said. “Satire is about knowing what your audience knows and lampooning it in a way that students will relate to.”

Similar to The Onion, another popular satirical news publication, The Booze News is free and published weekly, with a circulation of 20,000 on UIUC’s campus. Unlike The Onion, which stopped publishing in print in 2013, The Booze News and The Black Sheep still publish monthly.

“(Doshi) thought the campus paper there was too straight-laced and wanted to start another paper that spoke more to the social and fun side of college life,” Myers said.

When the paper began, Doshi and Chin were doing everything for it, from writing the stories to managing marketing. Students began to get involved and local businesses became interested in advertising with them. Eventually, they were able start a business with the financial support they were receiving from advertisers.

With the relatability of The Black Sheep’s satire, and the continuously rising popularity in satirical news including The Onion and “The Daily Show,” it’s feasible for editors, writers and readers to imagine satire becoming more and more popular on campus.

“It’s important to have satire in the college atmosphere for the same reasons it’s important to have satire in general,” Myers said. “It allows for students to explore and confront problems about college life without necessarily needing to solve them. Or, just writing goofy nonsense, because in a world where bad news and your opinionated Facebook friends dominate the airwaves, sometimes people just want to laugh.”

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Black Sheep gives alternative kick to DePaul news