Baratunde Thurston has been with The Onion for about two and half years and is currently the “fake news” publication’s Web and politics editor. In this episode of Media Beat, we asked him about the key to writing a catchy headline. “I thought I understood how it works,” said Thurston of the time before he joined the publication and was looking in from the outside.
“We start with the headlines,” he said, adding that every week hundreds of headlines come in from the company’s full time writers and part time contributors. “Then the story is written from that angle on, which makes writing news a lot easier, if you can start with the headline,” he said.
Of course, The Onion wants to make sure those headlines travel fast on all platforms. Case in point: Thurston told us that The Onion‘s iPhone app shot to No. 1 in the “news” category on Apple’s app store within 12 hours of being released.
We also asked him about the funniest example of when someone thought an Onion headline was real. Watch the video to find out the answer to that question and more.
It’s not often that we find ourselves at media events eating Chinese take out in someone’s living room. But that’s exactly what we experienced Wednesday night as Air America Media celebrated the upcoming launch of its new Web site.
Newly engaged chief digital officer Michael Bassik (right), CEO Bennett Zier and chairman Charlie Kireker welcomed guests to the sprawling apartment located just north of Soho on Broadway and introduced the site’s editor-in-chief, Beau Friedlander, who talked about the venture, which the company hopes will become the homepage for progressive Democrats.
Does Dan Abrams have a future in comedy? Based on his very fun moderating skills during a panel of comedy writers at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater on Monday night it’s certainly not out of the question. 23/6.com (one of our favorites) hosted the packed event “Pencils Down: America’s Funniest Writers Talk Politics,” in which comedy writers from The Daily Show, The Onion, and 23/6 discussed the ever-growing role comedy shows have been playing in this year’s election. Participants included Dennis DiClaudio (Indecision2008.com), Kevin Bleyer (The Daily Show), Baratunde Thurston (The Onion), Jason Reich (236.com). Did you know that The Onion has a fact-checking department!
After the panel Abrams spoke to TVNewser: “The election has never before been seen through the prism of comedians, there’s a deep sense the news media is sort of saying, ‘My big brother can play great baseball.’”