ink-stained wretches

The Onion Is Just Another Blog Now

Although it has looked increasingly like a web product for some time, The Onion has continued to print paper editions in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Providence. (Only select college kids in beanies have noticed.) But not for long: The December 12 issue will be its last, Crain’s Chicago reports. “It’s sad to see a print edition no longer exist, but it’s important to see the Onion succeed,” said company president Mike McAvoy. For the veteran standard-bearer of satirical news, success has looked increasingly like blogging.

In the process, The Onion’s newspaper has become the stuff of legend. Here’s Farhad Manjoo in Slate from September:

There was only so much room in a paper, so only the very best stuff made it in. Every week, the Onion’s comedians would come up with more than 600 headline ideas. Fewer than 20 would make it into the paper — about 3 percent. It was harder to get your joke into the Onion than it was to get your kid into Harvard.

Now, it may be “the country’s best op-ed page,” but it’s running on Internet time. “If part of our mission is to accurately and comprehensively parody what a news organization does, then we needed to adapt by doing more timely stuff, by making our company feel more digital, by adapting to social media,” editor-in-chief Will Tracy told Manjoo.

Whether or not it’s working is an ongoing debate. In the words of one staffer, “If your argument is that the Onion has gotten less funny because it’s had to adapt to the Internet, then OK — but that’s not the fault of anyone but, just, you know, the world.”

But because this is the web, print has already become part of the joke. Further proving that there’s an Onion story for any situation, please take today’s news as an opportunity to enjoy “Nation Stunned As Man Buys Newspaper,” the “Newspaper Readership Down” infographic, and “5 Words of Newspaper Read.” In a world gone mad for Andy Borowitz, we’ll take it any way we can get it.

The Onion Ending Print Editions