The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

The Onion has come a long way from its Midwestern dorm-room roots to become a satirical instituion. These days, the company behind that institution is actually operating in the black, and looking to expand.

Seven million in revenues is not bad, but it's a lot smaller than what I would have expected. Even though The Onion has made a name for itself, it probably seems bigger to people who track media (like me) than to the general public. The plan to grow the company 25 percent a year certainly is ambitious.

It's been a long time since I visited the site (I wasn't even aware that any print editions were still being published; there is none in the Tampa Bay area). It's the kind of humor that I ordinarily eat up, but for some reason, The Onion never really took hold of my funnybone. It seems like the headlines are funny enough; reading the entire stories that accompany them can often seem like milking the joke.

I will note that the success cited here seems to be in line with the general popularity the public gives to media that delivers news in a comedic wrapping. Other current hot examples of this: Al Franken and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart". Not a trend I necessarily approve of, at least not the concept of that being your only source of news. (Besides, "The Daily Show" currently sucks.)