“Student discovers biblical symbolism in class syllabus.” “PiE leaders allocate Chromebook funds to new nuclear testing facility.” These headlines would catch the eye of any reader, and would probably result in serious shock if they were true. But, they are completely fabricated, and are the headlines of stories from Palo Alto High School’s unofficial online satirical publication, the Daily Pillage.
Founded in 2013 by 2015 Paly graduates Emil Ernström and Will Robertson, the Daily Pillage endeavors to provide humorous and satirical content while also contributing insights to Paly culture and lifestyle, according to its website. Articles written for the publication fall under one of four possible categories: health, living, local and sports. The publication, like most others, aims to educate its readers, but it stands out because of its unique focus on humor, according to editor and senior Siddharth Srinivasan.
“I think, like all publications, our goal is [to educate] the public and student body but we place an emphasis on humor and satire,” Srinivasan said. “I think we stand out from other publications because of the manner in which we cover topics.”
In addition to its humor, the Daily Pillage often mixes factual information with false, made up details, much like The Onion, a well-known national satirical publication. One recent story addressed the new club policy implemented by the Associated Student Body that requires clubs to meet at least twice every month and record all minutes from each meeting, but it also included humorous quotes from a distressed president of a fictitious club, “For the College App Club.”
“The information we are conveying is not accurate; it’s satirical,” Srinivasan said. “People can [usually] tell the difference.”
Though the publication has been around since 2013, it has seen a recent surge in activity this school year after almost folding at the end of the last school year due to the loss of its entire staff.
“Everyone who was writing for the Daily Pillage was a senior last year, so we all graduated,” Ernström said. “Fortunately, some juniors reached out to us about continuing the publication and we happily obliged.”
With a new leadership team of three editors, seniors Ryan Reed, Anant Marur and Srinivasan, the satirical publication plans on expanding on what the graduated seniors left behind. In addition, the staff is now composed of juniors and seniors, ensuring that the publication will continue after this year.
“We want to produce more regular content,” Srinivasan said. “Last year there was a smaller staff and so it was more difficult to produce content regularly.”
In addition, the publication hopes to branch out into different forms of communicating content besides the traditional format of news stories by capitalizing on the talents of certain staff members.
“We also want to diversify the content we produce,” Srinivasan said. “Rather than just news stories we aim to produce video segments, op-Ed and some form of podcasts as we have staff members with expertise in a variety of areas.”
With these goals in mind, the Daily Pillage hopes to continue to grow, and former Editor-in-Chief Ernström believes the new leadership team will take the publication far this school year.
“The new team for the Daily Pillage is great,” Ernström said. “They’re passionate about comedy, not afraid of trying new things, and I’m excited to see where they take the publication.”