For daily campus news, you read The Daily Northwestern. For gossip, scandal, discussion and commentary, you read blogs. At Northwestern, the blog scene flourishes with opinionated and, in some cases, militant writers. They offer voices unfiltered, uncensored and unedited — and you only have to look at them if you want to. For the sake of convenience, we’ve disseminated (and assigned handy superlatives to) some of Northwestern’s most well-read blogs.
MOST LIKELY TO INCITE A REVOLUTION:Free Northwestern
A self-proclaimed “movement to empower students,” Free Northwestern is an outlet for students who want to rage against the machine. You can submit ideas and complaints to the webmaster (mysteriously dubbed “The Source”) about the oppressive, mean and nasty administration. The posts read like the inflamed manifestos you might find strewn on the bloody battlefield of a generic civil war, while the black-and-red color scheme hints at unseen drama: Senior Devin Balkind writes, “One of the oldest tactics of authoritarian regimes is to divide the enemy into different subsections,” and rabble-rousing titles include “Our Fight,” “Join the Movement” and “Northwestern is Absurd.” Now that the Northwestern Chronicle is all but old news, it may be the closest anyone comes to lighting a fire under the university’s politically apathetic ass.
Weinberg freshman Ellie Barczak leads readers on an “edible adventure” with her delicious-looking food blog. Each post is informative and appetite-whetting, with food history, health facts, recipes and cooking tips. Maybe Barczak and our “Campus Cravings” food columnist, Rachel Kalt, should get together and make a nice quiche.
BEST USE OF SALACIOUS IMAGES AND SNARKY CAPTIONS: Northwestern OTR
College OTR (which ostensibly stands for “Off The Record”) sponsors student-run blogs at about 33 different American colleges and universities, including Stanford, Harvard and the University of Florida. Northwestern’s branch is a helpful source for off-beat news and gossip that’s unlikely to be covered by The Daily — stories like the Keg’s beer deals or the CA who caught roommates bumpin’ uglies. Plus, the most regular contributors, slated as DJ PM and wearyourshaydes, make inventive use of sardonic post titles like “Leave Lindsay A-Lohan,” which was about our campus’s unnatural obsession with the celebrity rehabber.
It may not be the most reliable news outlet (many attributions say nothing more than “According to sources…”), but Northwestern OTR is often an amusing and even necessary supplement for anyone committed to staying truly abreast of our fine university’s scandalous goings-on. It may be headed for controversy, though — the blog just launched a weeklong series ranking the most “chill” frats and sororities. Rut roh!
MOST BLATANT RIP-OFF OF GOSSIP GIRL: Rumor Royalty
Allegedly the source of petty social news about Northwestern’s “elite” (whatever that means), Rumor Royalty gossips about anonymous drama queens, who we realize are (depressingly) real even when the blog hides under the disclaimer, “Any similarities or resemblances to people or events on this site are completely coincidental. This is a work of fiction. All names and events are characters.” Every post harks back to the high school drama we all thought would be over once we got to college, and every post ends with “You wish you could hate me.”
As if that wasn’t arrogant enough, the site goes in and out of password protection, as if the glitterati and wannabe masses are dying for access. It warns readers to “watch your back” before spreading the gossip. Damn — who knew NU students hiding behind handles had the balls to invoke vague physical threats? Truthfully, “RR,” we do hate you, but we love reading your ridiculous blog — it gives us something to do between new episodes of Gossip Girl.
MOST LIKELY TO POP THE NORTHWESTERN BUBBLE:The Interregnum
While most of us are content with looking at the interior of our college bubble, the bloggers at The Interregnum are thinking beyond Sheridan Road. Theater senior Sarah Zucker uses the blog to keep in touch with a friend in England, both posting occasional video updates on their lives set to irreverent images and groovy music. Think of it as a peek into a conversation between two friends, with a lot of banter begging for a Hollywood producer to stumble upon it and buy the movie rights.
MOST SPORTS-OBSESSED BLOG:Lake the Posts
This daily sports blog, maintained by an anonymous alum, screams a deep love for Northwestern. I’d prefer if the old guys donated more money to ease my tuition, but this active and smart sports blog proves that there are alumni who do, in fact, care about us. Paying “homage to the pre-Barnett era Cats,” Lake the Posts may be wrapped in nostalgia, but with polls focusing on the university’s latest recruiting class, it’s still looking out for our future.
MOST PROFICIENT USE OF COPY/PASTE KEYBOARD FUNCTION:Wildcat-Watch
The writers of Wildcat-Watch often poke fun at campus happenings, share Hillary-hating YouTube videos, and criticize the writing of student publications like NBN and The Daily. Call me biased (one of my stories was personally trashed), but one thing every post on the blog shares is a complete lack of new ideas — it feeds on easy, one-line criticism of outside content and a few jokes the authors probably enjoy much more than anyone else. The outline of a typical Wildcat-Watch post goes something like this: “Clever” Title, usually with sarcastic parenthetical jabs. One sentence introduction. Several paragraphs quoting another publication. “Clever” kicker. Sarcastic tags. Repeat ad nauseum.
SHEER GENIUS:Overheard at NU
Untouched by commentary, images or any kind of ranting, Overheard at NU could possibly be the greatest Northwestern blog on the Web. The blog takes tips on ridiculous overheard conversations around campus, posting them for everyone to see (a riff on the ever-popular Overheard in New York). My personal favorite: Drunk Guy says, “What if my shoe were Alanis Morissette right now?” Sure, it doesn’t discuss the petty lives of the social elite or the authoritarian regime of the administration, but it’ll hand you a laugh and an insight into the quirkier (or more inebriated) side of Northwestern life. My goal? To get on the blog by graduation.
HONORABLE MENTION: A few more blogs that are student-run but not necessarily Northwestern-centered.
Paradox Society: A frequently updated political journal with big ideas and an accessible (albeit libertarian) voice.
Wildcat Wire: A thoughtful entertainment blog with a “Wildcat twist.”
The Foul Pole: A snappy sports blog that knows how to use sexy pictures.
Gersh and the Sports Gurus: Another well-written general sports site maintained by Medill freshman Max Gershberg and his cohorts. Also, very smooth voices on the podcasts.