Writers for The Onion, a popular satirical news organization, spoke on Thursday at Dice It up with the Writers of The Onion, an event hosted by USC Spectrum at Bovard Auditorium.
The Onion, which was first published in 1988 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, features online and printed articles, radio broadcasts and video news segments that cover fictional and non-fictional local, national and international events.
The event, featured Onion’s head writer, Seth Reiss, and its features editor, Joe Garden, and highlighted many of the newspaper’s humorous stories throughout its publication, including “Congress Takes Group Of Schoolchildren Hostage” and “Michael Phelps Returns To His Tank At Sea World.”
Reiss and Garden also mocked headlines from newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times.
Reiss said one of the main reasons The Onion has continued to stay popular while other newspapers are facing financial hardship is because the organization’s use of the Internet and social networking.
“The Onion went online in 1996, and a large amount, around 90 percent, of our readers come from the Internet,” Reiss said. “The fact that we have a fully functioning website and a fully functioning social media network really helps [us achieve] our success.”
Reiss also said one of the ways the print version of The Onion has thrived is through its franchising deals with nearly 20 cities.
“For our print paper, we’ve been doing these franchising deals, where these cities will bring us to their city, and we provide all the content, while they do all the advertising and circulation,” Reiss said.
Garden and Reiss are keeping another projects, a compilation of past and current content from The Onion, under wraps.
“We’re currently working on a book that’s going to be released in October that we’ll be working on for the next few months,” Garden said. “We can’t really talk about it right now, but it’s going to be pretty insane.”
As for the future of The Onion, Garden said Readers should have big expectations for future publications.
“We’re probably going to the stars, or at least another dimension,” Garden said. “We’re actually very focused on our book right now, but after that’s blown over, you can expect us to be more embracing of social media, focusing more on Twitter and doing more video segments online as well.”
Many of the students at the event were entertained by the content The Onion has published during its history, including Taylor Barnhill, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering.
“All the stuff The Onion posts is so outrageous and hilarious, it’s hard to believe that people actually get offended by it,” Barnhill said.