A few months ago, amid the stress of finals week, a group of freshmen looking for a creative outlet decided to publish a satirical newspaper centered on the humorous happenings around the USC campus. They did some brainstorming, drew up a plan and started to write, continuing to write through winter break. When the spring semester began, they successfully launched the Sack of Troy, an online satirical newspaper that has started to gain traction among USC students.
These freshmen behind Sack of Troy include Editor-in-Chief Axel Hellman, Finance and Promotion Chair Dylan Abrams and Webmaster Matt Kalina, all residents of the sixth floor of Birnkrant Residential Hall.
After spending some time exchanging stories and poking fun at various absurdities at USC, as well as reading satirical newspapers from other schools, they decided to create a newspaper of their own.
“Axel approached Matt and I with the brilliant idea of starting our own and, after a few weeks of preparation, we launched our site,” Abrams said.
With no formal comedic experience, they drew inspiration from a variety of sources.
“We modeled the style of our satire news articles off of The Onion, which is probably the best-known humor/satire paper,” Hellman said. “We were also inspired by The Tulane Vignette, a similar publication run by a student at Tulane who is friends with Dylan.”
Sack of Troy’s website, which promises to deliver “reliable, accurate and fictitious news about USC,” features an archive of about 20 articles, comical author bios and a link for readers to contact the authors with questions or article ideas.
Their goal is simple: to provide the USC community with funny, light-hearted stories about students’ experiences on campus with headlines such as “Kaufman School to Offer Pole Dancing Class,” “USC Ranked Most Secure Prison in Southern California” and “Right Wing Activists Protest Shrine Auditorium’s Islam Influence.”
Several undergraduate students have expressed their interest and amusement with the articles.
“I check it almost every day and laugh every time I do,” said Heather Persson, a freshman majoring in international relations.
Hellman, Abrams and Kalina are not the only ones involved in this comedic endeavor. Calvin Boyd, a freshman majoring in architecture and Abrams’ roommate, designed the Sack’s logo. Freshmen Jordan Klein, a computer science major, and Morgan Greenwald, a neuroscience major and Daily Trojan staff member, have also written articles.
In terms of spreading the word about the Sack, Abrams said that a lot of their focus is online, noting that Facebook and Twitter are their primary mediums for promotion — though that’s certainly not all they’re doing. Besides doing that and counting on people to hear about the Sack of Troy through word of mouth, Abrams said they’ve been seeking multiple campus promotional partners.
“We promote ourselves in different newsletters on campus, through KXSC and hopefully Trojan Vision, and we’re in the process of designing fliers that can be posted around campus in order to increase our viewership,” Abrams said.
Though the Sack is run by a tight group of Birnkrant friends, they strongly encourage outsiders to pitch in and contribute. The Sack of Troy posts multiple articles every week and is looking to add new sections including entertainment, to its website.
“We are always looking to expand our writers circle,” Abrams said. “We love when people express enthusiasm and are interested in writing for the Sack.”
The Sack of Troy is published online at sackoftroy.com.