Satirical Paper Thrives in Tough US Market

The Onion feeds the public's need for satiric news coverage
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2008 8:10 PM CST
John Harris, right, gets some suggestions on his story from Todd Hanson, left, during a drafts meeting at The Onion offices in New York, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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(Newser) – As newspapers lay off workers and struggle to survive, the Onion is adding staff and circulating in new markets, the Washington Post reports. Riding the crest of America's love for Jon Stewart-style satirical news, the 20-year-old paper pays writers well and holds down a New York City office. "It's scary," the paper's editorial manager says. "It's a little terrifying that real news is crashing while fake news is growing."

Onion writers do it by committee: They gather around their Soho office to suggest headlines and decide what makes them funny. "Bill Clinton Sadly Folds First Lady Dress Into Box" only works, they decided recently, as an emotional story about a man lamenting his lost chance to be the next Jackie O. But it's "a terrible way to go through life," sighs one senior writer. "Your mind is incessantly working in this mode."