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The Onion is an Americanmarker news satire organization. It features satirical articles reporting on international, national, and local news as well as an entertainment newspaper and website known as The A.V. Club. It claims a national print circulation of 690,000 and says 61 percent of its web site readers are between 18 and 44 years old. Since 2007, the organization has been publishing satirical news videos online, as the "Onion News Network".

The Onion's articles comment on current events, both real and imagined. It parodies traditional newspaper features, such as [[editorial]]s, [[Vox populi|man-on-the-street]] interviews, and stock quotes, as well as traditional newspaper layout and [[Associated Press|AP]]-style editorial voice. Much of its humor depends on presenting everyday events as newsworthy items, and by playing on commonly used phrases, as in the headline, "Drugs Win [[Drug War]]." A second part of the newspaper is a non-satirical entertainment section called ''The A.V. Club'' that features interviews and reviews of various newly released media, and other weekly features. The print edition also contains restaurant reviews and previews of upcoming live entertainment specific to cities where a print edition is published. The online incarnation of ''The A.V. Club'' has its own domain, includes its own regular features, A.V. Club [[blog]]s and reader forums, and presents itself as a separate entity from ''The Onion'' itself. ==History== {{Refimprovesect|date=February 2008}} [[Image:The Onion Broadway Office by David Shankbone.jpg|thumb|The Onion's office in New York City.]][[File:Office of The Onion on The Hill in Boulder Colorado.JPG|thumb|The [[Boulder, Colorado]] office on 'The Hill'.]] Two juniors at the [[University of Wisconsin–Madison]], Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson, founded ''The Onion'' (originally published in [[Madison, Wisconsin]]) in 1988; the following year, they sold it to Scott Dikkers and Peter Haise, for less than $20,000 ($16,000, according to the ''[[Washington Post]]''; a 2003 [[Business 2.0]] article reported the figure was $19,000{{cite web| url=| title=The Onion: Funny site is no joke| work=[[Business 2.0]]| publisher=[[CNN]]| date=2003-08-29| accessdate=2008-11-21}}). Reportedly, it was Chris Johnson's uncle, Wm. Nels Johnson, who came up with the idea to name the paper ''The Onion.''[ Parodies of current events catch interest of unlikely readers], Kathlyn Hotynski, The Spectator (University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire), February 8, 2007. "People always ask questions about where the name ''The Onion'' came from," said former President [[Sean Mills]] in an interview with ''[[Wikinews]]'', "and when I recently asked Tim Keck, who was one of the founders, he told me...literally that his uncle said he should call it ''The Onion'' when he saw him and Chris Johnson eating an onion sandwich. They had literally just cut up the onion and put it on bread." According to former editorial manager, Chet Clem, their food budget was so low when they started the paper that they were down to white bread and onions.[ An interview with The Onion], David Shankbone, ''[[Wikinews]]'', November 24, 2007. ''The Onion'' was at first a success in only a limited number of cities and towns, notably those with major universities (e.g. [[Madison, Wisconsin|Madison]], [[Milwaukee]], [[Minneapolis]], [[Chicago]], [[Boulder, Colorado|Boulder]]). Originally the entire bottom two inches of the paper could be cut off for coupons to local Madison establishments, such as inexpensive student-centered eateries and Four Star Video Heaven. The creation of its website in 1996 allowed it to receive national attention. In 2000, as the publication had broken through to the mass market, ''The Onion'' was approached by [[Comedy Central]] for a buyout that would broaden the scope and reach of ''The Onion'''s brand of satire into other forms of media. In early 2001, the company relocated its offices to New York City. The paper continues to make occasional Madison references, placing odd stories in surrounding towns or running photographs of local landmarks to illustrate stories set elsewhere. In April 2007, ''The Onion'' launched 'The Onion News Network,' a web video sendup of 24 hour TV news. The paper's founders went on to become publishers of other [[alternative weekly|alternative weeklies]]: Keck of the Seattle weekly ''[[The Stranger (newspaper)|The Stranger]]'' and Johnson of Albuquerque ''[[Weekly Alibi]]''. In January 2009, Onion president Sean Mills—who was responsible for the Onion's turnaround and growth in New York City—suddenly left the company explaining that "the time has come for a new challenge." [ MinOnline: Sean Mills Peels From The Onion] In April 2009, The Onion was awarded a [[Peabody Award]] which noted that "the satirical tabloid's online send-up of 24-hour cable-TV news was hilarious, trenchant and not infrequently hard to distinguish from the real thing."[ Complete List of 2008 Peabody Award Winners] from the [[Peabody Award]]s website In July 2009, various news outlets began reporting rumors of an impending sale of The Onion to a large media company.[ ''No Joke: Report says The Onion discussing sale''] A further rumor indicated that such a sale would be announced on Monday, July 20, 2009.[ ''Onion Sale Announcement Monday?''] The "sale" was ultimately revealed as fictional publisher emeritus T. Herman Zweibel stating he'd sold the publication to a Chinese company, resulting in a long series of Chinese-related articles and features throughout the Onion website and publications.[ ''Well, I've Sold The Paper To The Chinese''][ Chopped ''Onion'' Makes Us Cry] On Wednesday, July 22, 2009, ''Onion'' editor Joe Randazzo clarified the issue on [[National Public Radio]]'s ''[[All Things Considered]]'' as saying: "I'm sure there are many Chinese conglomerates out there that would love to buy ''The Onion''," he says. "We are, in fact, still a solvent independently owned American company."[ A New Owner For 'The Onion'?] ''All Things Considered'', July 22, 2009 Recent layoffs, pay-cuts, hiring freezes and office closings were not discussed. == Distribution == ''The Onion'''s printed edition is distributed free in [[Madison, Wisconsin|Madison]], [[Milwaukee, Wisconsin|Milwaukee]], [[New York City]], [[Chicago]], [[Minneapolis-St. Paul]], [[Denver, Colorado|Denver]]/[[Boulder, Colorado|Boulder]], [[Austin, Texas|Austin]] and [[Washington, D.C.]] It is also sold in bookstores worldwide, including the [[United Kingdom]], and is available by mail through paid [[subscription]]. From 2005 to 2009, [[Los Angeles, California|Los Angeles]] and [[San Francisco, California|San Francisco]] editions were published. These editions were discontinued in May 2009 due to a lack of advertising revenue.[ ''The Onion stopping its editions in S.F., L.A.''] ==Regular features== [[Image:Chet Clem and Sean Mills by David Shankbone.jpg|thumb|Former Editorial Manager Chet Clem and former President Sean Mills.]] Regular features of ''The Onion'' include: * "STATshot", an illustrated statistical snapshot which parodies "''[[USA Today]]'' Snapshots" * The "Infograph" (a.k.a. "Infographic"), with a bulleted list of items on a theme. * Point-Counterpoint * Guest opinion pieces and regular columnists * Bizarre [[horoscope]]s * "The ONION in History": a front page produced in the look of newspapers of an earlier era, from the book "[[Our Dumb Century]]" * "In the News" photograph and caption with no accompanying story (such as "[[Frederick's of Hollywood|Frederick's]] of Anchorage Debuts Crotchless [[long underwear|Long Underwear]]", "[[NAACP|National Association]] Advances Colored Person", and "Owls Are Assholes") * "American Voices" (formerly called "What Do You Think?"), a mock [[vox populi]] [[opinion poll|survey]] on a topical current event. There are three respondents for each topic who seem to have been chosen intentionally to represent a diverse selection of ages, races, and socio-economic classes. Although their names and professions change daily, photos of the same six people are always used. One of them is often described as a [[systems analyst]]. * An [[editorial cartoon]] drawn by "Kelly" (a fictional character; the cartoons are actually the work of [[Ward Sutton]][,0,1927201.story Hackwork hacked], ''[[Los Angeles Times]]'', March 29, 2007, accessed April 27, 2007.). The comic–the most controversial feature in ''The Onion''–is a deadpan parody of conservative cartoons, as well as editorial cartoon conventions in general. Roughly half of the cartoons feature the [[Statue of Liberty]], usually shedding a single tear. The website was redesigned in 2005: * All archives were returned to being free, and Onion Premium, a failed attempt at a paid-subscriber model section of the site, was discontinued. * "What Do You Think?" became "American Voices," with the question updated every weekday, and only three responders for each question, instead of six * "In the News" was retitled "From the Print Edition" * The Onion began publishing web-only content on a daily basis, such as a daily fictional [[stock market]] analysis titled "Stock Watch" (one of which appears in the print edition every week), a web [[opinion poll]] titled "QuickPoll" (since discontinued), "National News Highlights" of three regional stories, the cover of The Onion Weekender (a parody of ''[[Parade (magazine)|PARADE magazine]]'') and The Onion Magazine (a parody of ''[[The New York Times Magazine]]''), and The President's Weekly Radio Address. * The nationally syndicated ''Onion Radio News'', a brief audio clip read by anchor [[Doyle Redland]], became a daily feature. In early 2006, Onion Radio News podcast was launched, and quickly shot to #1 on the iTunes list of top podcasts. * A [[sports]] section was introduced, having archival material from old issues in addition to new articles (such as "[[Matt Leinart]] Wins Beauty Portion of [[2006 NFL Draft]]") and rotating headlines such as "[[New York Rangers]] Honor Proud [[Madison Square Garden]] Tradition by Losing". The Onion website is updated every day, most significantly (and historically before the move to daily updates) on Wednesday afternoons, and ''The Onion'' newspaper is distributed on Thursdays. A genuine Personals service is also offered by the Website. ==Reporters and editors== {{Time-context|section|but does not specify the time period.|date=October 2009}} {{Wikinews|The Onion: An interview with 'America's Finest News Source'}} The current editor of ''The Onion'' is Joe Randazzo, and the writing staff comprises [[Joe Garden]], Dan Guterman, Todd Hanson, John Harris, Chris Karwowski, Chad Nackers, Seth Reiss, Baratunde Thurston and Will Tracy. Past writers have included Mark Banker, [[Max Cannon]], Amie Barrodale, [[Rich Dahm]], Megan Ganz, Janet Ginsburg, [[Tim Harrod]], [[David Javerbaum]], [[Ben Karlin]], Peter Koechley, [[Carol Kolb]], John Krewson, [[Tom Scharpling]], [[Maria Schneider (cartoonist)|Maria Schneider]], [[Robert D. Siegel]] and [[Jack Szwergold]]. Michael Faisca and Nick Gallo are the graphic editors. ''The Onion'' does not accept unsolicited freelance contributions. The Onion News Network is produced by Will Graham and Julie Smith and the head writer is former ''Onion'' editor [[Carol Kolb]]. ==The Onion News Network== In March 2007, ''The Onion'' launched ''The Onion News Network'', a daily web video broadcast that had been in production since sometime in mid-2006, with a story about an illegal immigrant taking an executive's $800,000 a year job for $600,000 a year. ''The Onion'' has reportedly invested about $1 million in the production and has hired 15 new staffers to focus on the production of this video broadcast.{{cite web|url=|title=Press ‘Play’ for Satire: March 23, 2007 ''The Wall Street Journal'' Article}} [[Carol Kolb]], former editor-in-chief of ''The Onion'', is the ONN's head writer, and Will Graham is the showrunner and exec producer. On February 3, 2009 ''The Onion'' launched a spin-off of the ONN, the ''Onion Sports Network''. It has been announced that ONN will produce an "Onion Sports Network" pilot for comedy central, and there's rumored to be an ONN news show in the works as well. In a ''[[Wikinews]]'' interview in November 2007, former ''Onion'' President Sean Mills said the ONN has been a huge hit. "We get over a million downloads a week, which makes it one of the more successful produced-for-the-Internet videos," said Mills. "If we’re not the most successful, we’re one of the most. It is a 24 hour news network. We have a new show that is part of the platform, but we also have a Sunday morning talk show that’s called ''In The Know'' and we just launched a morning show this last week called ''Today Now.'' It has been really exciting; we’ll have some new shows, show some archive footage and do some more in sports over the next year." ===Onion News Network continuing series=== To further invoke the atmosphere of a 24-hour network, The Onion News Network video series includes a number of items lifted from what are ostensibly ONN news shows and continuing reports: * '''''Today Now!''''': ''TN'' is a parody of morning lifestyle and news programs such as [[NBC]]'s ''[[Today (NBC program)|Today]]'' show and [[American Broadcasting Company|ABC]]'s ''[[Good Morning America]]''. Hosted by Jim Haggerty (in actuality, former New York City TV anchor Brad Holbrook) and Tracy Gill (a former Miss Wyoming), the style is typical of the breezy, cheerful, earnestly sincere style usually found in morning network television shows, with the presenters usually either uncritical or completely oblivious to the subject matter presented, aiming instead to delve into every nuance of a story regardless of the absurdity or relative appropriateness of the subject (e.g., Haggerty's earnest question about whether or not [ Chef Adam Scott's dream omelet recipe] [literally an omelet made from a recipe that came to him in a dream] requires strictly a metal shoe-horn to measure the butter into the pan, or Tracy Gill's [ seemingly complete unawareness of her own life history in conversation with the biographer who wrote it]). TN is the only ONN show with a scheduled time: weekdays, 7–9 am. * '''''In The Know with Clifford Banes''''': A parody of [[Sunday morning talk shows|Sunday morning pundit shows]], ''ITK'' is hosted by Clifford Banes, who never actually appears on his own program due to a continuous succession of absurd or improbable circumstances, and is led by a guest host (apparently from another ONN commentary program) who explains why Mr. Banes cannot attend (e.g., [ in this one], guest host Gregory Dawson, of the ONN program ''The Dawson Angle'', explains the host is absent because he is currently "plummeting toward Earth at ninety-three miles an hour"). An Onion-style current political event is examined earnestly by ''ITK's'' pundit panel from every angle regardless of how odd it might seem. * '''''War For The White House''''': ONN's continuing coverage of Election '08, opening with a dramatic video apparently depicting Air Force One and a squadron of fighter planes seemingly attacking the White House, mocking the intense, over-the-top style that seems to have become typical in straight news coverage. Notable for its consistent use of military terminology (e.g. "Election Analysis Bunker") and deadpan style. * '''''O-SPAN''''': O-SPAN (an obvious reference to [[C-SPAN]], usually displayed with the paper's graphic "onion" logo in place of the O), parodies the thoroughgoing coverage of Congress provided by the similarly named real-life cable network, including [ spoof bill-readings on the House floor] and [ spoof committee-meetings]. * '''ONN-International''': A parody of CNN-International, ONNI debuted November 2008. Boasting coverage in 152 languages over 811 countries and with 9 Billion viewers, ONN-International presents news from around the world in the signature Onion style. Amongst the stories presented have been an essay by "China's Andy Rooney", an avuncular Chinese commentator delivering witty, obviously Government-vetted observations in a dead-on Andy Rooney style, and a report from Bangladesh which touts the new "SmartStitch" machine, which will enable owners to essentially take their sweatshop home with them, working up to 22 hours a day. * '''OSN''': A reference to ESPN, OSN usually features clips from SportsDome, itself a parody of SportsCenter. The clips usually focus on specific parodies of SportsCenter segments such as the Budweiser Hot Seat, which becomes [ The Steam Room] on OSN. Hosts present in the jocular style synonymous with ESPN and sportscasters on sets that are near-identical knockoffs of the SportsCenter studios. Each item is capped off by a "Later this hour" or "Coming up next" teaser featuring a headline joke in the usual Onion style, with the news reports also having a crawl in the lower-third similarly filled with joke headlines ==Film== {{Main|The Onion Movie}} ''The Onion Movie'' is a [[direct-to-video]] film written by then-''Onion'' editor Robert Siegel and writer Todd Hanson and directed by music video directors Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire.[ The Untitled Onion Movie] Created in 2003, [[Fox Searchlight Pictures]] was on board to release the movie, originally called ''The Untitled Onion Movie'', but at some point in the process, directors Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire and writer Robert Siegel walked away from the project. In 2006, [[New Regency Productions]] took over the production of the troubled project. After two years of being in [[Development hell|limbo]], the film was released on DVD on June 3, 2008. It is now credited as being directed by James Kleiner but still written by Hanson and Siegel. ==''The Onion'' taken seriously== Upon occasion, the straight-faced manner in which ''The Onion'' reports non-existent happenings has resulted in outside parties mistakenly citing ''Onion'' stories as real news. * In 1998, [[Fred Phelps]] posted the ''Onion'' article "''[ '98 Homosexual-Recruitment Drive Nearing Goal]''" on his "[[Westboro Baptist Church|God Hates Fags]]" website as "proof" that gay people were indeed actively trying to "recruit" others.[ Wired 7.03: Award-Winning Local Journalists Reflect Own Self-Hatred Back on Nightmarish World*] * On June 7, 2002, [[Reuters]] reported that the ''[[Beijing Evening News]]'' republished, in the international news page of its June 3 edition, translated portions of "[ Congress Threatens To Leave D.C. Unless New Capitol Is Built]". The story discusses the [[Congress of the United States|U.S. Congress]]'s threats to leave Washington for [[Memphis, Tennessee|Memphis]], [[Tennessee]]; [[Charlotte, North Carolina|Charlotte]], [[North Carolina]]; or even [[Toronto]], [[Canada]] unless [[Washington, D.C.]] built them a new [[United States Capitol|Capitol building]] with a retractable dome. The article is a parody of U.S. sports franchises' threats to leave their home city unless new stadiums are built for them. The ''Evening News'' is [[Beijing]]'s most popular newspaper, claiming a circulation of 1 million. ''Evening News'' initially stood by the story, demanding proof of its falsehood. It later retracted the article, responding that "some small American newspapers frequently fabricate offbeat news to trick people into noticing them with the aim of making money." [ "Onion Taken Seriously, Film at 11"][[Wired (magazine)|Wired]], * In late March 2004, [[Deborah Norville]] of [[MSNBC]] presented as genuine an article titled "[ Study: 58 Percent Of U.S. Exercise Televised]".[ "'Deborah Norville Tonight' for March 12"], [[MSNBC]] * In 2006, the [[Denmark|Danish]] television station [[TV 2 (Denmark)|TV 2]] posted a story on the gossip section of its website that took seriously the ''Onion'' article titled "[ Sean Penn Demands To Know What Asshole Took]".{{cite web |title=Hvem har hugget Sean Penns emailadresse? |url= |date=2006-01-18 |work= |publisher=[[TV 2 (Denmark)|TV 2]] |language=Danish |accessdate=2009-06-18}} * An article on [[Harry Potter]] inciting kids to practice [[witchcraft]] was believed by many to be real and was forwarded by many concerned Christians.[ "Harry Potter Satanism"], Columnist Ellen Makkai and others who believe the ''Harry Potter'' books "recruit" children to [[Satanism]] have also been taken in by the article, using quotes from it as "evidence" for their claims.[ "Harry the Wiz is the Wrong Biz"], via the [[Internet Archive]] * In 2009, a video was posted on The Onion website with the headline [ "Gymnast Shawn Johnson Put To Sleep After Breaking Leg."] Afterwards [[Shawn Johnson]] had to deal with many rumors about her being dead.{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} * In the first week of [[Late Night with Jimmy Fallon]], Fallon treated an Onion video about the [ "Franz Kafka International Airport"] as a real news story, using it as a setup for one of his own jokes.{{Citation needed|date=September 2009}} *In September 2009, two Bangladeshi newspapers, Daily Manab Zamin and New Nation, published stories translated from The Onion claiming [[Neil Armstrong]] had held a news conference claiming the moon landing was an elaborate hoax. Neither realized The Onion was not a genuine news site. Both of the newspapers apologized to their readers for not checking the story. * In October 2009, the Russian news site repackaged clips from the Onion video piece "New Anti-Smoking Ad Warns Teens 'It's Gay to Smoke'" as legitimate news. ==Presidential Seal dispute == {{Original research|section|date=October 2008}} In September 2005, the assistant counsel to President [[George W. Bush]], Grant M. Dixton, wrote a cease-and-desist letter to ''The Onion'', asking the paper to stop using the presidential seal, which is used in an online segment poking fun at the President through parodies of his weekly radio address.[ Random Perspective: White House Sues “The Onion” to Cover up Iran Invasion Plan] The law governing the Presidential Seal is contained in {{usc|18|713}}: :''Whoever knowingly displays any printed or other likeness of the great seal of the United States, or of the seals of the President or the Vice President of the United States, or the seal of the United States Senate, or the seal of the United States House of Representatives, or the seal of the United States Congress, or any facsimile thereof, in, or in connection with, any advertisement, poster, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, public meeting, play, motion picture, telecast, or other production, or on any building, monument, or stationery, '''for the purpose of conveying, or in a manner reasonably calculated to convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States''' or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.'' (emphasis added) This section would seem to allow the use of the presidential seal by ''The Onion''. However, by [[Executive order (United States)|Executive Order]], President Richard Nixon specifically enumerated the allowed uses of the Presidential Seal which is more restrictive than the above title ({{EO|11649}}), but which allows for exceptions to be granted upon formal request. ''The Onion'' has responded with a letter asking for formal use of the Seal in accordance with the Executive Order, while still declaring that the use is legitimate under {{usc|18|713}}. However, since Executive Order 11649 permits use of the Seal in the manner used by ''The Onion'' only with authorization of the Counsel to the President, use of the Seal by ''The Onion'' would imply that the required authorization had been obtained, and therefore doing so without such authorization would convey "a false impression of ...approval by the Government of the United States." The letter written by Rochelle H. Klaskin, ''The Onion'''s lawyer, is quoted in ''[[The New York Times]]'' as saying "It is inconceivable that anyone would think that, by using the seal, ''The Onion'' intends to 'convey... sponsorship or approval' by the president," referring to {{usc|18|713}}, but then went on to ask that the letter be considered a formal application asking for permission to use the seal.[ Protecting the Presidential Seal. No Joke. ] from ''[[The New York Times]]'' ==Books== * ''[[Our Dumb Century|Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source]]'' (1999, ISBN 0-609-80461-8) * ''The Onion's Finest News Reporting, Volume 1'' (2000, ISBN 0-609-80463-4) * ''Dispatches from the Tenth Circle: The Best of The Onion'' (2001, ISBN 0-609-80834-6) * ''The Onion Ad Nauseam: Complete News Archives Volume 13'' (2002, ISBN 1-4000-4724-2) * ''The Onion Ad Nauseam: Complete News Archives Volume 14'' (2003, ISBN 1-4000-4961-X) * ''"Fanfare for the Area Man": The Onion Ad Nauseam Complete News Archives Volume 15'' (2004, ISBN 1-4000-5455-9) * ''"Embedded in America": The Onion Ad Nauseam Complete News Archives Volume 16'' (2005, ISBN 1-4000-5456-7) * ''"Homeland Insecurity": The Onion Ad Nauseam Complete News Archives, Volume 17'' (2006, ISBN 0-307-33984-X) * ''[[Our Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas of the Planet Earth]]'' (Oct. 2007, ISBN 0-316-01842-2) ==Fictional profile== ===Fictional history=== Officially, the paper purports to be over 250 years old, having originally published in the mid 18th century. It was named the "Mercantile Onion" because those were the only two English words the paper's immigrant founder, Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel, knew at the time. ("Zwiebel" is German for onion.) The newspaper's motto was "Tu Stultus Es", or 'You are stupid' in Latin. In 1896 Zweibel's 20-year-old grandson, T. Herman Zweibel became editor, a position he supposedly holds to this day despite being over a century old and largely senile. For much of the 20th century the paper was highly [[reactionary]] and violently opposed every social reform the century brought forward, from women's suffrage to married characters sleeping together in the same bed on television. T. Herman Zweibel penned a weekly commentary until 2000, when he was rocketed into space toward the Andromeda galaxy, ostensibly leaving The Onion in the joint control of [[Bernard Baruch]] and [[Aunt Jemima]]. In recent Onion Radio News releases, beginning December 15, 2008, the concluding ad for ''Our Dumb World'' has stated: "For over 350 years The Onion has given you the day's news..." ===Fictional chronology=== * 1756: Friedrich Siegfried Zwiebel founded the ''[[Mercantile]]-Onion'' The Onion: Our Dumb Century * 1783: First edition of The Onion News-Paper, purporting to be the first newspaper to carry advertisements (namely for [[Burger King|The King of Broil'd Meats]] and [[Jameson Irish Whiskey|John Jameson's Miracle Concoction]]), is released. * 1850: F. Siegfreid's son, Herman U., took over the company. * 1888: T. Herman Zweibel, assumes editorial directorship Retrieved 2007-10-18. * 1892: Onion 24-Hour Television News Network (ONN) founded. It can now be seen in 811 countries around the world. * 1896: T. Herman Zweibel, F. Siegfried's grandson, took over the company, upon death of Herman U. Zweibel. * 1922: Onion Radio founded. Retrieved 2008-11-30. * 1958: Zweibel was court-ordered to retire. * 2000: Zweibel left Earth itself (The Final Frontier, T. Herman Zweibel). Retrieved 2007-10-18. * 2009: The Onion and all corporate holdings sold to a Chinese conglomerate, Yu Wan Mei Amalgamated Salvage Fisheries and Polymer Injection Corporation. * 2009: The Chinese conglomerate, Yu Wan Mei Amalgamated Salvage Fisheries and Polymer Injection Corporation, having felt misled in its acquisition of The Onion, has placed The Onion up for sale less than one week after purchasing the paper. === Fictional contributors and editors === ''The Onion'''s fictional editor is T. Herman Zweibel (Zwiebel is German for onion, and also close to the name Zweifel (German for 'doubt') a family closely associated with the Madison newspaper The Capital Times), who has "held the position since 1901" and is rather insane.

The Onion publishes several columns by (fictional) regular and guest writers. The regular contributors include:
  • Jim Anchower, an enthusiastic slacker and stoner with a different job every few weeks, whose musical tastes are stuck in 1970s rock and roll.
  • Jean Teasdale, an overweight, dumpy woman with kitsch tastes, whose constantly upbeat attitude in her column "A Room of Jean's Own" always finds the bright side of her otherwise depressing life.
  • Smoove B, a smooth talking ladies' man whose columns are directed toward his girlfriends or potential dates. He is known for describing his planned dates in extreme detail, often straying from the romantic to the mundane. The structure of the comedy consists of a series of romantic come-on lines, featuring cliched enticements such as cognac, chocolates, and massages, followed by a blunt sexual reference.
  • Roger Dudek, an inept humor columnist whose feature, "Write On The Funny!", contains nonstop clumsy puns and similes, while demonstrating a casually abusive attitude towards members of his family
  • Jackie Harvey, a clueless celebrity spotter.
  • Amber Richardson, an uneducated single mother who writes about her many misadventures in raising her illegitimate children including visiting the health clinic, constantly changing jobs as well as lovers, and defending her questionable qualifications in childrearing.
  • Larry Groznic, an overweight, confrontational "fanboy" whose disagreements with friends over obscure nerd trivia are documented in hostile letters typically demanding conversion to his point of view.
  • Gorzo the Mighty, the Emperor of the Universe, villain in the style of Ming the Merciless.
  • Department Head Rawlings, the mysterious head of an unnamed organization of international spies.
  • Don Turnbee, a 41-year-old who frequents fast food establishments.

Former contributors include:

  • Herbert Kornfeld, accounts receivable supervisor, an accountant who was raised on the streets and spoke in gangsta rap-isms and ebonics. Killed on April 30, 2007.
  • Arch Danielson, an elderly man who wrote "The Silver Screen", a series of rambling, non-sensical movie reviews that often diverted towards random topics. His persona was retired around 1998, in favor of Jackie Harvey.

See also



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