Jack Rosen, 25, is working on his master’s degree in American government at Georgetown. But it was during his glory days as an undergraduate at Skidmore College that the Albany, N.Y., native created the The Skidmo’ Daily, a satirical newspaper that outlasted his presence on campus.
Why did you start the Skidmo’ Daily?
That’s a good story. It was 2013. I was on club mailings for the school’s actual newspaper and for about six weeks in a row I was asking them, “Hey can you take me off your mailing list?” And I kept asking them. And week after week they kept sending me the thing and I kept asking them, “Please remove me from your list.”
So on Week Six, I was like, “Fine. I’m starting my own newspaper. How about that?”
At first I posted it as a joke to Facebook to see if people were interested, and I’m petty so I just sort of stuck with it, and before you know it, [Rosen and some friends] put a first edition together in
December 2013. It’s still going strong, which is something I’m happy about.
When you start something like that in college, you don’t know if it will be there after you’re gone.
What kind of articles did you publish?
It was broad. Sometimes there would be jokes about student life, making fun of a party house or a new school policy. A lot of the writing I did was because I’ve always been interested in politics. I used the
Student Government Association to talk about real world political events: I accused the SGA president of wiretapping. I accused him of an illegal war. Stuff like that.
How often would you come out?
You know, I’d like to say we published every two weeks, but it was a student-run publication where nobody was being paid and it was entirely their free time. So when we could whip them into shape and get them together after I sent them an email saying, “Guys, the deadline is coming up,” we’d publish then.
What’s it like, creating something that’s become somewhat of an institution?
It really is what I’m proudest of from my undergrad. It’s funny, I don’t think I have my diploma framed in my apartment, but I do have the first edition of Skidmo and the fifth anniversary edition [framed]. It’s great. The fact that’s its stayed going makes me so happy.
Was there a feud between you and the newspaper there?
[It was] mostly instigated by me. It was just — our tagline still is “Skidmore’s only intentional satirical newspaper.” I, one time, met the editor-in-chief of the actual student newspaper and his housemate invited me over for a beer. I just didn’t know what to say to the guy. I insulted this guy on a personal level, criticizing his op-eds and stuff. I’d been gunning after this guy for years and now I’m just in his house drinking a beer.
I was like, “I hope you know it’s nothing personal.” It’s fun to have feud though, especially in college. College is when you can do that petty stuff without any real consequence to it. Try doing that at a job and that’s going to cause some problems.
Do you have any funny stories from that time?
This wasn’t quite Skidmo, though it was some of the same people. Being a bunch of poli sci majors who thought we were smarter than everyone. Keep in mind this was the summer of 2016. We thought
Donald Trump would never win. So we bought the government professors a gift: they needed a new microwave and we got them one. We had a little money left over, so somebody suggested we get them a plaque. The plaque said, “Make the government lounge great again. Class of 2016.”
Still there apparently.
Do you think being Jewish informed your sense of humor?
Oh yeah. I’m definitely big into sarcasm, and growing up in a Jewish household, you learn sarcasm pretty quickly. I grew up at the altar of Jon Stewart a little. I found him very relatable.
I think to be Jewish, you gotta learn to laugh a little. The world’s too depressing, our history is too depressing not to have a sense of humor about it.
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