Summer 2014

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Northwestern is the quarterly alumni magazine for Northwestern University.
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Peter Stein, left, and Stephen Rees. Photo by Mary Henebry.

Serious About Satire: Stephen Rees and Peter Stein

“I think Sherman Ave [a satirical online publication] is a great mix of high- and lowbrow humor. There’s often a discussion of how we should approach an event — what’s the line between being offensive for a purpose or just wantonly offensive. I think we’ve learned to walk that line very well.” — Stephen Rees

“There’s pretty regularly been an element of — obviously — irreverence. We’ve always kept a distance between ourselves and any form of authority at Northwestern. We like the idea that we’re a voice of the University that comes entirely from the students.
“We also try to use humor to address issues we think are very important. When discussion about race was a big issue on campus, we thought, ‘What’s the cleverest way we can show how outrageous everything that happened is without sounding ignorant or insensitive?’ So we ran a story about Morty requiring all party themes be sent to the Student Affairs office, to point out the fact that we can’t even handle party themes as students.” — Peter Stein

American studies major Stephen Rees launched the humor site Sherman Ave in January 2011 and shortly thereafter brought Peter Stein, a communication studies and international studies major, and journalism major Tom Meyer [not pictured] onboard. Rees and Stein — along with junior Chandler Dutton — have shifted their focus to National Ave, a new sister site that aims to entertain a nationwide audience.