Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"I Hope You Get Short Bowel Syndrome."

EVERY SEMESTER, 34th Street magazine, a student publication at the University of Pennsylvania, runs an issue where students get to slam each other anonymously in a section called "Shoutouts."

To my roommate: We all know your secret. Leaving Smokes early to call phone sex hotlines is not a substitute for the real thing.

And that, to say the least, is a tame Shoutout. Other shoutouts deal with sexual encounters, annoying classmates, random stalking, Greek life, religion, nerds and a lot more hooking up stuff. And they can get awfully mean.

To the annoying Wharton girl in my Tuesday Nutrition class: You fu**ing suck. Stop asking questions. I hope you get short bowel syndrome. Yeah, diarrhea for the rest of your life. Your friend sucks too.


Apparently, when this issue hits the streets, it's hugely popular. And the mag prints extra copies, even sells a lot of extra advertising. The next issue is due out this week.

Is it journalism? Is it selling out? Is it providing a service to readers? Or is it just plain mean (and mean fun)?

11 comments:

Angelina Thoman said...

Personally, I think this is..well, for lack of better words, super lame. This random complaining and making fun of people is meant for things like livejournal or myspace. To bring it into the sphere of journalism is degrading to the profession. However, you must keep in mind this is a college publication. If this is what will sell issues and advertisements for the publication, so be it. Printing for a niche like college students, or even more precise, the University of Pennsylvania, requires playing to what that group is interested in. It's sad to admit that this is what our ivy-league students pride themselves in, but I suppose it is a product of the times.

Andrea Symonds said...

I think if it's anonymous then it's fine. It could be pretty entertaining, actually. I didn't know that this existed until now, and I kind of want to pick up the issue to see what people are saying.

Piccone said...

It sounds like a blog but printed in magazine. I guess you could call citizen journalism.

Reilly said...

I think it's silly, but fun. Definitely not journalism though. It's just like City Paper's "I love you, I hate you" section. With all the crappy news in today's world, it's nice to lighten things up every once and a while. As long as it's anonymous, I don't see any harm.

Riina Corrigan said...

I think it's stupid and mean. Giving any credence to people's intolerant and hateful comments is immature and unnecessary. Don't people have better, more productive things to do with their time than dwell on an obnoxious habit of a classmate or roommate?

Eileen McHugh said...

That's really funny. And hey, it's only in one issue each semester. You can also see things like this in the Penny Power (Thumbs up or thumbs down section - i saw once "Thumbs down to the asshole who thought it was okay to check out 40 items in the express line). So yes. I would say it's journalism. It's real and what the people want!

Antonio Boone said...

This topic isn't journalism at all. Sure it satifies readers with gossip and entertainment but there is no actual news covered in this section. I believe this kind of thing should be left to internet and gossip sites like juicycampus.com, but even that was shutdown.

Patty Giron said...

I think that is incredible... its not journalism for sure.. its.. being a chicken shit to not say it to the person's face. but thats still pretty funny.. what goes around comes around

Lara Taylor said...

I deffinately wouldn't call it journalism. Is it accurate, balanced or fair? Did someone actually report on it? No. But it gets people to pick up the paper, doesn't it? It's a form of self-advertising. The mini "F-YOUs" are unusual and interesting and they get the paper's circulation up. CityPaper does the same thing, and they do it for a reason. It might not be the main reason most of their readers pick it up everyweek, but it doesn't hurt their publication either. For the most part, they are all anonymous and I think for a college newspaper, it would only get out of hand when it was no longer anonymous. I wouldn't have a section like that in my publication if I had one, but I don't blame other newspapers for having it either.
--lara taylor strayer

Andrea Lorenzo said...

It is DEFINITELY not journalism, and it is DEFINITELY not appropriate. If it wasn't anonymous, it would be libel. I don't think it is responsible of the paper to allow things like this to be published for the world to see. It is completely and entirely useless "information."

Stephanie Klock said...

I didn't even know there was such a thing called Short Bowel Syndrome. This sounds like Mean Girls. Hopefully in the end no one gets hit by a bus.

I would not call it Journalism but if people want to read it, print it.