Benjamin Karlin ’93

2006 Distinguished Young Alumni Award Honoree

Benjamin Karlin came to Madison in 1989 not knowing what he was going to study and sick with mononucleosis. After one semester, he joined the staff of the Daily Cardinal as a sportswriter and columnist. He used that experience to get a freelance job at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona for United Press International.

In the meantime, friends from his days at the Daily Cardinal had moved on to work for the The Onion, a popular satirical newspaper, and they asked Karlin to join them. He became the paper’s editor in 1995. In 1996, Karlin left The Onion and worked on a variety of television projects, leading to his 1999 appointment as head writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

He has received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing and a Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting. His writing skills, humor and knack for satire have even influenced political elections.