Joke journalism – The Onion

A common newspaper to find for free in the upper midwest is an unlikely surprise to an unsuspecting victim. The tagline says that it is “America’s Finest News Source” and is laid out in a normal manner.

Looking over the article layout seems normal enough. You can see datelines, articles are written out in short, simple paragraphs, it’s justified in columns. So, what’s the problem?

Well, the problem might have something to do with the headlines! A sample one might be Neighborhood Would Make A Great Video Game Level (available here for the curious)

Yes, The Onion is not a normal newspaper. It looks like one, it follows AP Style for the most part, and it certainly claims to be America’s Finest. It’s a parody paper, read all across the United States – in print form mainly in the midwest, online everywhere else – and it does its job well.

The Onion is somewhat unique in their work as a parody. Not only do they do plain old nonsensical articles, they also do ones that relate to “real” news. Their current “American Voices” is talking about the recent 10 million plus Fisher Price toy recall.

It’s a good laugh and an interesting study of how a fake newspaper can sustain a print circulation of 350,000. (According to their Media Kit, at least.)

Do you guys read The Onion, whether it be the print or online version? Do you have a favorite article? And if you have time, check out the trailer for their latest technological break-through… delivering news from the year 2137.

–Greg Martin

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