Several staffers from The Onion satire news magazine came to McCain Auditorium for “An Evening with the Onion” in an attempt to give students and Manhattan residents an inside view of the oddball news stories.
The Onion, sarcastically labeled “America’s Finest News Source,” is a satirical online newspaper known for mocking legitimate news sources. In recent years, it expanded to even include a television show and until recently a sports centered show, Onion Sportsdome, sarcastically imitating ESPN.
Chris Young, junior in landscape design, said he was interested by the premise of the event, as well as the low cost for students.
“News satire is easier to get information from than actual news,” Young said. “It’s more fun, it’s more honest, like The Onion versus newspapers. Newspapers aren’t too crappy as long as you know what to avoid.”
Jason Roeder, staff writer for The Onion, and Geoff Haggerty, video editor, gave a presentation to the audience largely based on slides containing past headlines and video stories.
Roeder gave a brief history lesson and talked about the origins of the satirical newspaper. Roeder said The Onion was started in 1783 by Frederick Zweibel, and it got its title because he was a new immigrant.
“He called it ‘The Onion’ because they were the only two words he knew,” Roeder said.
They also claimed the second editor, T. Herman Zweibel, had been the editor-in-chief of The Onion from 1896 to 2001.
The whole audience was giggling as they unveiled various headlines such as, “Drugs win drug war.” A headline near a picture of Barack Obama said “Black man given nation’s worst job.” One of the most in-depth stories said “Enraged 500-foot Bin Laden emerges from the sea.”
Shannon Hush, sophomore in architecture and Union Program Council Forms co-chair, said this event was an original opportunity for K-State.
“What I think is exciting about it, and I have been involved with UPC for a while, is it is such a unique event,” Hush said. “It’s not just another singer, not just another comedian, and it is something people can get really excited about.”
In addition, The Onion staff members unveiled some fake statistics asserting the supremacy of their news site. According to them, 97 percent of people get news from The Onion.
Among the more offensive headlines unveiled include, “Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell paves way for gay sex on battlefield. Opponents fantasize.” Also, “NASA completes 52-year mission to find, kill God.”
Hush said she hoped students would realize the stories were meant to be in good fun.
“They’re making up stories for a fake news program and will be relating fake stories for K-State, and will talk about a bunch of stories that people hopefully won’t take too seriously,” Hush said.
At the end of the event, the two staff members answered questions regarding how they started to write for The Onion.
“There is no straight line, everybody just kind of backs into it,” Roeder said. “You wake up one morning and it’s like, ‘I work at The Onion now.'”