“Has This Student Newspaper Gone Too Far?”

How far is too far when it comes to parody? Young Joe Jacobucci found out when he edited the traditional parody issue of the University of Wyoming student newspaper “The Branding Iron” in 1934.

00374-Carbon County Journal printing plant

Carbon County Journal print shop, circa 1890. Jacobucci Family papers, box 1, Collection #374. American Heritage Center.

Parody issues were nothing new. Called the “yellow sheet”, the comedy edition was an annual tradition of the publication; but Jacobucci’s version, titled the “Ironing Board,” resulted in his suspension from the university and the confiscation and destruction of most of the print run.

00374-Joseph F. Jacobucci 1934

Joseph Jacobucci, taken in 1934. Jacobucci Family papers, box 1, Collection #374. American Heritage Center.

Joseph F. Jacobucci was born in Rawlins, Wyoming, in 1914 to a family already steeped in journalism. His mother, the former Margaret Friend, was the daughter of John C. Friend, who settled in Rawlins in 1870 after a career as a telegrapher along the Overland Trail. John C. Friend founded the “Carbon County News” in Rawlins and later acquired the “Carbon County Journal,” which he published from 1879 to 1892.

00374-John C. Friend

John C. Friend outside Carbon County Journal office in Rawlins, circa 1890. Jacobucci Family papers, box 1, Collection #374. American Heritage Center.

Young Joseph also aspired to a career in journalism and entered the University of Wyoming in 1932. But his plans received a setback when he was suspended over the parody issue. However, he took on the duties of interim editor of the “Laramie Republican-Boomerang” in 1934, and in 1935 transferred to the University of Missouri, where he received his B.A. in Journalism. He returned to Wyoming as editor of the “Green River Star” in 1936. In 1938 he briefly revived the “Laramie Sentinel,” a title originally published in the 1870s-1890s.

00374-News clipping 1934

Newspaper clipping from Wyoming State Tribune, May 29, 1934, “Suspend Editor at Wyoming U.” Jacobucci Family papers, box 6, Collection #374. American Heritage Center.

Joseph Jacobucci planned to write a history of Wyoming journalism, covering every paper published in the state, but his untimely death from a ruptured appendix in 1939 interrupted the project. Jacobucci’s research, along with scrapbooks of John C. Friend, and other Jacobucci Family materials are available at the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

– D. Claudia Thompson, Archivist

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