Random white stuff falling from the sky, a talking snowman, Chief of Public Safety David Barger saying he’d do outrageous things in the name of the law, and a senior’s streaking attempt at the Nov. 9 hockey game all seem to be legitimate news stories for the creators of the latest internet sensation, The Quinnipiac Barnacle. Launched on Nov. 5, the parody website has started a buzz across campus.
The founders and co-editors, William Vessio and Shane Collins, said The Barnacle is the real news source on campus during an interview last week.
“The Chronicle is a great parody news source,” Vessio said. “The content is very funny, we don’t know where you come up with it. We love how The Chronicle is based on The Barnacle.”
However, a disclaimer appeared at the bottom of the home page a few days after the interview and states, “The Quinnipiac Barnacle is a parody newspaper. No articles or media posted on this website are factual, nor should they be taken as such. Actual names and likenesses used in The Barnacle are used in a parodic context, and are not a reflection of any actual person, alive or dead.”
With outlandish headlines like, “Life As a BobKitten Author Turns out to be Timothy Dansdill,” and a variety of misquotes from President John Lahey, Barger and students, it’s evident that Vessio and Collins intend to add some humor to Quinnipiac-related topics and provide an escape from academic pressure.
“I think the articles are funny, especially because they’re so relatable to Quinnipiac students,” sophomore Emily Maggio said. “The topics are things that a lot of us share opinions on, like the parking situation and QU101, so being able to read and laugh at something that is unique to the school is awesome.”
However, some students have a different perspective on the site’s content.
“The site as a whole is funny but there’s a line that has to be recognized, and they crossed it a couple times,” junior Nick Sczerbinski, president of the QU Spirit Group, said. “I think the broader articles about things around campus are funny. But when you talk negatively about the achievements of our peers and you have a derogatory quote from the head of public safety, you’ve gone a step too far. ”
In the story titled, “Women’s Cross Country: Nobody Cares,” writer Robert Durfee makes fun the team’s eighth New England Collegiate Championship and failure to receive much recognition from the school. The story didn’t resonate well with athletes on the team.
“Reading the story that the QU Barnacle wrote on the team was a stab in the back,” runner and sophomore transfer student Tatianna Michalak said. “If it was the hockey or the basketball team that accomplished this, it would have been the biggest deal ever, but since our team is so under-recognized, no one really cared. I haven’t read any of the other stories besides that one and don’t want to because of how rash they were.”
Though there has been some negative reaction to the Barnacle’s content, it isn’t preventing the site from gaining popularity. Over the course of a week, The Barnacle has been publicized by students through Facebook and Twitter.
According to John Morgan, associate vice president for public affairs, the university isn’t commenting on the Barnacle’s presence on campus. And as of now, The Barnacle hasn’t faced any disciplinary actions for misquoting Lahey or Barger. Reactions continue to be mixed, but that won’t stop Collins and Vessio from improving the site.
“Our goal is to become a media conglomerate,” Collins said. “We want to combine many aspects of news organizations into one.”