Happy 25th birthday, America’s Finest News Source. Now get a job and move out of your parents’ basement.
To the delight of Area Men everywhere, the weekly newspaper-turned Internet phenomenon has survived and flourished by speaking truth to bullshit since 1988.
Modeled on the classic daily paper, The Onion‘s mastery of reporting, opinion, factoids, news-you-can-use, sourcing, quotes, and photography makes it a must-read for PR pros. Why? Because we all need to level our judgement with a bit of satire from time to time, the tone is always perfect, and it makes for a highly entertaining teaching aid for new executives looking to tighten their writing.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Dated September 26, 2001: “Dinty Moore Breaks Long Silence On Terrorism With Full-Page Ad“
- On listicles and slideshows: “40 Numbers Under 40“
- A bold op-ed by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad published just yesterday. Check out MuckRack’s aggregation of what real journalists had to say about the piece and you’ll see genuine respect. Jim Geraghty from the National Review called it “creepily accurate,” while Martha Gill from the New Statesman Tweeted, “Am I alone in just finding the onion just incredibly comforting in a world of mad, mad op-eds?”
Peel back the layers further and listen to NPR’s interview this morning with Onion Editor-In-Chief Will Tracy: