May 18, 2007
Every Wednesday, what was once just an idea becomes a reality on the web.
"What we wanted to do was a 'Daily Show' type thing for UVa," explained graduating UVa student Mostafa Abdelkarim.
Inspired by Jon Stewart, graduating fourth-years Mostafa and his friend, Josh Cincinnati, created a website called www.HoosNews.com that spoofs real news on grounds.
After a year, the number of viewers grew and so did the operation, adding nearly 20 people to the once two-man show.
"We actually had try-outs at the beginning of the second year of the show," said Mostafa. "We had tons of people come in and tell us why they wanted to join the show."
This year, the show achieved its goal of becoming a weekly regular. It also garnered more than 80,000 hits.
Mostafa says his next goal is to get more professors on the show. His first 'get' was an interview with the famed political scientist Larry Sabato.
"It was wonderful to hear his perspective. Incidentally, he had never even heard of the show, even though he is mentioned on every episode. I was surprised too," said Mostafa. "But also thankful."
Mostafa's goals do not stop at his comedic edge.
He has been a three-year member of the mock trial team which has won consecutive national championships and also launched the first-ever class film project.
Starting his job at the Justice Department this summer, he hopes to practice international law and also one day make a film about his native Egypt, where he studied last summer.
"A lot of people say that college years are your best years of your life, but I think if that were true, then what would be the point?" he asked. "College is supposed to give you the tools to go on and do something even bigger after you leave."
That does not mean he will not be checking in on HoosNews. After all, it is on the web. And maybe one day, Sabato will become an avid viewer, and Mostafa's muse, a guest.
"We tried to do an interview with Jon Stewart, but he wouldn't do an interview with anyone. So it's good to know, if HoosNews couldn't get him," said Mostafa, trying to keep a straight face, "no one could."