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Monday, October 25, 2021

Humor: Increase in fake news leads The Aggie to shut down humor desk

headshot_evNo remorse shown for quarterly hires as five students get the ax

After a year of writing satirical news about the UC Davis campus, the school newspaper is shutting down the humor desk. In an attempt to save its image and not be a phony news source, The California Aggie has parted ways with five humorists.

As fake news continues to be a problem, the newspaper has elected to move away from tricking its students into believing satirical articles are, in fact, true.

The Editorial Board released a statement on Tuesday outlining its thoughts.

The Aggie, which is over 100 years old, does not want to compromise its integrity in order to get a few laughs,” the board wrote. “That is not our job; we report on news. Falsely telling students that there’s an influx of bike racks is simply not fair to them and ruins our credibility.”

The columnists, while not paid, all share a passion for their work. None of the writers offered a comment, but the student body is split on the decision.

“I’m glad they weren’t paid. I thought what they were writing was not funny. It was silly and childish,” said Larry Rodgers, a fourth-year wildlife, fish and conservation biology major. “This frees up a full page for stories that I care about.”

Others didn’t have the same reaction to the news, feeling as though the voices of the columnist provided insight into the world.

“Honestly, I get the business decision, but the writers made me laugh. They made me think,” said Kelly Rose, a second-year English major. “You realize they’re talking about the world and how it relates to Davis. There is a story to be told with what the humorists are saying.”

The move is one that has been seen before; the satire desk of The Aggie was shut down 10 years ago for similar reasons. In closing the humor desk, however, a different voice is lost. It’s part of the opinion desk for a reason, as it gives students an opportunity to voice their thoughts. Writers have historically used satire to express their beliefs and discontent with the system that they are a part of for as long as the medium has existed.

A group of five students that once stood up to the chancellor and the United States government about self-centered infrastructure are now out of a job because of a fear that the outrageous would be taken too literally rather than examining what is truly being said.

Satire has its place in the news, but fake news outlets that have put the nation in turmoil have ruined it for those that simply want to take a stand on policy, but do so using a different, funnier form.

 

Questioning the credibility of ETHAN VICTOR? You can reach him at ejvictor@ucdavis.edu. Feel free to help with his followers-to-following ratio on Twitter @thejvictor, because it is pathetic right now.

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