Name: Joey Pitchford
Celeb Status: Editor of Rotten Appal
Hometown: Cary, N.C.
Activites: Musician, guitar, writing music, jiu-jitsu, reading philosophy.
Q: What inspired you to join a satire style publication like the Rotten Appal rather than a more traditional student publication like The Appalachian? A: I’ve liked making people laugh, it’s always been my thing. It’s my favorite thing to make people laugh or happy. I came into Rotten Appal November 2013 during my junior year, I was very unmotivated my sophomore year, and I used RA to motivate myself, to prove that I could succeed. I saw an ad and had always enjoyed reading The Onion and I felt it was the right time and I could motivate myself to it, and it worked. My junior year was really successful and has carried me through the rest of college.
Q: Rotten Appal has recently reached 1,000 likes on facebook, how has the Rotten Appal grown and changed since you joined?A: To begin with there wasn’t much structure in terms of meeting, we would just yell out ideas, it is still the same, but we go around in a circle and say our ideas, there’s structure. We’re still trying to learn since we’re so young. We’re more active on social media and have started creating other things like buttons and stickers. The people who have stuck around are much better writers than they used to be. I came into it with a degree of writing, where we have majors don’t have a writing background, so they’ve learned.
Our content quality has improved overall. We used to just think about quantity so we had words on a page. Since becoming an editor, I’ve wanted to increase quality and I’ve taken the time to go line by line on [every] piece. We’ve improved in terms of what we should write, and have started paying more attention to the ethics. In the beginning, we just wrote whatever we felt like. We can’t just piss someone off because we can, we need to be able to make a point. People still have out-there ideas, but we have matured in what gets published and what we want associated with our name. We have some people who will explore any idea, but we also have more conservative writers who can reign each other in when one goes too far. We work together to have a balance and it works for us very well.
Q: Above all else, what is the one thing/person who inspired you to begin writing?A: Probably my mother, she loved music, that was a big thing, she loved poetry, and she always encouraged me to write journals. I lost her very young and she kept journals while going through chemo. There’s a website called storypeople.com with a forum called Ginny’s Way, which is dedicated to her poetry and dedicated to life, it showed me that writing is a very pure form of self-expression. I believe satire is an underrated way of writing. In satire, you can take something and make it humorous and easier to read. It can make it easier for us to talk about things that we wouldn’t normally talk about. My friend Ethan Joyce, who was also my Resident Assistant as a freshman and sophomore, was the one who introduced me to journalism. The work he was doing was really interesting, and since then I’ve looked up to him as the example of what I want to be doing.
Q: What’s some advice you’d offer to people who are starting to write?A: Figure out why you’re doing it, what’s your motivation, what are your biases; you have to be thoughtful in doing this. For me, I want to tell stories that aren’t being told. I want things to get the light of day that they deserve. When you can write you’re in a position of extreme power, so be thoughtful in your actions and be accepting of criticisms, because you will get it.
Q: What do you plan to do after graduation?A: What I would like to do, there’s a company called Roosterteeth in Texas. They do a lot of video game type stuff and I enjoy what they do. I would like to write for them and specifically write for their shorts, it’s exactly what I want to do. I want to write in comedy to make people laugh and brighten their day. Right after college, who knows, be a local reporter or write for a newspaper, I wouldn’t mind working for The Onion, except they’re never hiring.