Looking for Love on a Listserv (Or, in All the Wrong Places)

We're all familiar with the almighty alumni listerv — that source of mild e-mailed irritation, delivering a steady stream of requests for apartment leads, neighborhood advice, and, inevitably from a onetime rush chair, attendance at a really! fun! drinks night. For j-school alumni — like, say, those who attended Northwestern University's Medill — that standard stew is further flavored with discussions of journalism ethics and occasional pleas for help finding sources. Which is why an inquiry to that list yesterday stood out:

From: Mandy Stadtmiller

Date: Nov 1, 2006 2:35 PM

Subject: Looking for love in NYC, okay on the apt situation

To: [MedillNY listserv]



Any leads send them my way — thanks!



Mandy Stadtmiller

BSJ '97

Was Stadtmiller — a features writer at the Post — really using her alumni list as a no-fee Nerve personals? (Online dating is sexy; online dating with journalists is sexier?) Or was this maybe — please! — just a gimmick for a story?

We reached Stadtmiller on her cell yesterday evening, and she claimed neither. "I think it's kind of making fun of how hilariously vague and needy those posts are," she explained, insisting she was making a social commentary, not a social plea. "Everyone wants a perfect apartment in New York, and everyone wants film and literary contacts. There's this one chick who always posts looking for sources." Still, the 31-year-old writer-comedian has already received one response from a potential suitor and another from a guy asking if she was cute and mentioning that, by the way, he recently got engaged. "I think I'm probably not going to find someone this way," she said.

Lori Fradkin