How the Internet Ruined the Onion

Farhad Manjoo isn't a fan of the site's new arch, digital-first, viral model
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2013 10:32 AM CDT
How the Internet Ruined the Onion
The Onion's logo is seen in this screenshot from its website.   (The Onion)

(Newser) – Once upon a time, an entire year ago, the Onion was a quaint, weekly newspaper, publishing only the very best fake news. Lately, that's all changed. Readers may have noticed the site getting a lot more biting, a lot more timely, and, to some Slate columnists, a lot less funny. "What happened to the Onion? Two words: The Internet," Farhad Manjoo observes. Last year the editorial staff was moved from New York to Chicago, and many quit. At the same time, the site went "digital first."

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"In every way that matters, the people who produce the Onion now think of it as a website, not a paper." That's meant more stories written more quickly, and an emphasis on stories with viral potential—which Manjoo thinks has led to pieces like this ultra-popular column that are "a little scoldy, oversmart, and lacking in much nuance." Then again, "the model that sustained the Onion for decades is simply unworkable in today’s grinding, instant-reaction age. If the Onion published just 20 jokes once a week in 2013, nobody would read it. It would be far too little and always too late." Click for his full column. (Read more The Onion stories.)

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