The Onion raises speed of satire in Campaign 2016
Even satire has a shelf life. In a presidential campaign with fast-changing headlines that sometimes defy belief, The Onion has managed to maintain its niche by becoming more agile, just like real news organisations.
The 28-year-old satirical media outlet, famous for creating fake news, has evolved with technology a bit like everyone else, including the news industry it parodies. For the first time, The Onion this summer sent staffers to the Democratic and Republican conventions.
“Although technology requires media to be much quicker, it also allows us to be a bit faster, and we’ve started training ourselves and developing ways that we can be a little more reactive, too,” said Matt Klinman, The Onion’s head writer for video.
Klinman was part of a team of staffers sent to the conventions in Philadelphia and Cleveland with a goal of mocking the news in something close to real time. Its video team quickly posted full-length clips of high-profile convention speeches on Facebook, complete with cable news-style graphics that included jokes and commentary.
“We’ve been sort of wanting to crack a way of doing live coverage as The Onion for a long time,” Klinman said.
The Onion’s sarcastic take on political gatherings apparently struck a chord on Facebook, where its convention videos outpaced those from major news outlets such as The New York Times, ABC, NBC and CNN for much of the two-week period when the meetings were held. The data come from Tubular Labs, an analytics firm The Onion uses to track video views. The Chicago-based Onion is planning similar coverage for the upcoming presidential debates. Agencies