UB alum makes up the news
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Updated: Sunday, November 18, 2012 14:11
Adam Gassman couldn’t concentrate on studying for his law school final; he was too distracted and angered by the news media. He didn’t appreciate how they were misinforming the public and how they addressed certain issues. So he sought a solution for his outrage.
He started a website with the sole purpose of mocking the news media.
Gassman, a 25-year-old UB alumnus with an undergraduate degree in sociology, founded News Makeup, a parody website that pokes fun at current events. The satirical website, which went live in Feb. 2012, covers topics such as this year’s presidential election, NFL teams and television shows like The Walking Dead.
When Gassman was at Hofstra Law, he started to pay attention to the news. Without law school, he said, he would not have the mental capability to think about societal issues. Attending law school gave him the ability to be impartial and see both sides of a news story.
“I despise partisan news. I think it leads people to think of issues as black and white,” Gassman said. “My heart is in politics, but my brain is in business. I’ve always found ways to put the two things I love together.”
A businessman at heart, Gassman said he spent most of his time in law school trying to figure out a way to make money. He hoped his website would combine his two passions – business and money – and also force the public to question the news media outlets.
He strives to get the public more involved in what is going on with the news.
“[News Makeup] gets people to talk about certain issues,” Gassman said. “Which is really the dream – to have a really good time and to make an impact.”
Gassman loves the direction his website is going and he plans to include nonprofit organizations in articles so the people who read his work can find ways to help the community directly from his website.
He hopes to get people to pay attention to politics, global affairs and celebrities – especially those who normally wouldn’t. Gassman wants people to have an opinion.
One article, titled FBI to Investigate the Suspicious Disappearance of Journalism, attacks the lack of impartial journalism by saying, “Journalism was last seen fraternizing with Fox, CNN, and ABC in 1998, but has not been heard from since.”
With a quote from “Journalism’s friend, Integrity,” the article mocks the lack of real journalism by saying in-depth reporting can no longer keep up with celebrity Twitter feeds.
“People don’t typically pay attention to the news in the right way,” Gassman said.
Gassman spends most of his time watching the news and uses that to motivate himself to keep the website going. He credits his interest and influence in the news to his family and upbringing.
News Makeup may be Gassman’s idea, but he did not succeed all on his own. Gassman credits the people who took a chance on his idea, the ones who made the execution happen, to have all that he has today.
“When you build a business, you did not build that by yourself,” Gassman said. “It’s built by the team. It’s built by friends who gave me the support that I needed and the confidence to do it.”
Conor Biller, vice president of Newsmakeup.com and one of Gassman’s high school friends, feels the website is progressing.
“I think that we hit the market when the news was flooded with good material that is the onion of our business,” Biller said.
As an editor, Biller naturally became the person Gassman would go to for help with articles and the website. Gassman soon promoted Biller to vice president.
Biller thinks Gassman’s dedication and determination makes him the perfect man to run the website.
“He has a really great vision for the website,” Biller said. “[He] was doing this for a long time and he really made a lot of progress in the field of current parody news.”
Gassman now works full time with his team on the News Makeup website. He watches the news and creates the content with his team and hopes to get more people involved.
“There is definitely room for competition,” Biller said. “We are definitely proud of the work that we have done so far.”
Gassman doesn’t want people to take everything they hear on the news for granted. He wants people to spark an interest in issues that matter and hopes his website will get people to think creatively.