Satirical newspaper “Pitiful News” to set for revamp

By Joe Chilson

Pitt’s humor publication, The Pittiful News, will get a makeover on Feb. 24 when it makes the… Pitt’s humor publication, The Pittiful News, will get a makeover on Feb. 24 when it makes the move to newsprint.

The switchover from 8 and 1/2-by-11-inch computer paper to newsprint — the low-cost paper commonly used for news publications — is part of a new direction for The Pittiful News. Editor-in-chief and club president Kelsey Henke is spearheading the change, which will include articles more oriented toward news commentary, a monthly rather than weekly publication schedule and an attempt to be self-funded by advertisement revenue.

“For a long time people wouldn’t pick up the paper because they didn’t know it was a paper,” Henke said.

She hopes the move to newsprint will help students see the newspaper as more legitimate.

The Pittiful News, whose staff comprises 32 writers, is generally a humor publication, but it also prints serious stories and editorials. Henke leaves it almost completely up to the writer to decide in what direction to take his or her work.

Currently, the paper circulates 200 copies every Friday in Towers Lobby. The staff leaves any copies that don’t get picked up in other locations around campus, such as the William Pitt Union or Hillman Library.

A $900 allocation from the Student Government Board facilitated the switch to publishing on newsprint, and that money will be used to cover three months of printing costs. The group has not yet decided where it will distribute the 750 copies printed the last Friday of each month.

Currently, The Pittiful News writers are free to submit work as they finish it, but that might change too. Wills Butler, the paper’s senior editor, said the publication’s organizers plan to start giving the staff assignments.

“The biggest problem is getting people who are dedicated,” Butler said. “People have other work to do, and obviously we’re not paying anybody.”

Henke said she’s loyally stuck with the The Pittiful News since last fall because of the freedom the paper allows her.

“I can write whatever I want, and I like to take things in some pretty bizarre directions,” Henke said, noting a recent short, news-style piece she wrote about a group of local punks who started making greeting cards with materials like chicken-blood ink and the tears of the weak.

Although The Pittiful News is going in a more serious direction, Butler made it clear that the writers wouldn’t lose their laid-back attitudes.

“The paper’s supposed to be entertaining,” Butler said. “Regardless of what we’re covering, we’ll have the humor element above all.”

Emily Croushore, a Pittiful News staff writer, said the relaxed attitude is what she likes most about the paper.

“I like that everyone at the paper is pretty laid-back. It’s something casual that you can do in your free time,” Croushore said.

The Pittiful News editions will be printed by the South Side-based company Typecraft Press.