The first issue of The Flipside, Stanford’s weekly satirical news publication, was distributed last week under new leadership for the first time since it was founded four years ago. Conor Doherty ’13 and Kyle Hoffer ’14 are the new president and vice-president, respectively. Bill Driscoll ’13, The Flipside’s managing editor, is affectionately referred to as the “Master of Shadows.”
“When we need to bust someone’s kneecap in a back alley, we usually send Bill,” Doherty joked.
One of the big changes the team has planned for the year is the discontinuation of the numbers section, a satirical comment on campus life based around a random number, although The Flipside did include numbers in its first issue. For the most part, the rest of the Flipside will remain the same for the near future.
“We might do a few different things,” Hoffer said. “Not yet, though, we’re trying to just figure out the baseline now before we do anything too crazy.”
The Flipside’s new leadership has decided to keep their jokes on the safer, less-offensive side as they get settled into their new roles.
“We’re not going to be offensive for a little while,” Doherty said. “We’re going to wait until at least the fifth or sixth week before I have to go to sensitivity training.”
The Flipside will continue the tradition of having a fake booth at the winter quarter activities fair and the editorial board plans to keep the website generally the same, but with a heavier multimedia emphasis.
“We’re going to try to do some video stuff because we have a green screen,” Hoffer said.
These changes come on the heels of the graduation of The Flipside’s founder and longtime president Jeremy Keeshin ’12 and vice-president Zach Galant ’12.
“Half [of] the really important people who were in it last year aren’t in it this year,” Driscoll said.
While the new team doesn’t feel pressure to live up to the expectations set by last year’s editorial board–Doherty wondered, “Do people have expectations?”–they do have some hopes for the year.
“Being funny is nice, in general. That’s kind of the goal,” Hoffer deadpanned.
“Don’t make a puzzle that’s too hard or people will whine about it,” Driscoll added.
Doherty agreed, continuing, “There’s a lot of pressure on Akiko [Kozato '13, the new puzzle master] more than anyone else. People just do the puzzles and don’t even read the articles.”
Primarily though, this year’s team is simply trying to carry on The Flipside’s tradition and keep up its popularity.
“We’re just trying not to run [The Flipside] into the ground,” Doherty said. “Jeremy [Keeshin] ran everything for four years. He could have done everything by himself if he’d wanted to.”
Keeshin and Galant are now working on a startup far removed from The Flipside’s humor, although, according to Doherty, Keeshin remains in constant contact.
“This is like the first passing of the baton, so we want to make sure we don’t drop it,” Driscoll said.
Readers of The Flipside expressed little concern about the change in leadership, so long as the leaflet maintains its signature irreverent humor.
“I guess I don’t know what a change in leadership would mean, as long as they keep the content that I care about there,” said Evan Appel ’13. “As long as they keep it witty, I have no problem.”
Alan Le ’13 said that The Flipside’s levity is important, but was also impressed with its tackling of deeper problems.
“I think it adds a little flavor to lunch which is when they typically pass [it] out. It’s nice; it’s kind of an activity to laugh over,” he said. “[But] a lot of [the articles] are really current issues.”
This year’s first issue of the Flipside was distributed on Sept. 24, the first day of classes. There was general confusion about lines of text missing their first letters, which some students thought was a joke.
“People did not understand why there were printing errors,” Driscoll said.
But not every printing error caused confusion. The first edition’s numbers section said that four freshmen should not have been admitted to the class of 2016, a number far smaller than what the editorial board had intended.
“The number was much larger than four, but [the printer] just chopped it off…for no reason,” Doherty said. “That’s way funnier than the joke we had originally.”
Despite a general desire to keep things the way they are, the new editorial board sinisterly hinted at changes on the horizon.
“There will be changes, and there will be blood,” Doherty said.
“Less blood than changes, though, probably,” Hoffer added.
“Well, officially,” Doherty said. “But you’ve got to be careful about the Master of Shadows.”
The Flipside published a satirical article in response to this article. Read it here.