Cole Bolton, the editor of world’s best known brand of “news satire”, confessed in an interview that they are finding it hard to churn out news satire that is more entertaining than much of the real news.
“Yes, it’s a problem we have lived with since our inception, but these days, it’s getting more and more difficult”
Responding to the questions about social media’s impact on publications like The Onion, he said, “It is so much easier for amateurs to get visibility as spoof writers these days, but let’s face it, it’s no easier to be a successful one. Just the last week, #NotTheOnion was trending on the twitter, all week. It generally is (trending) every third day. When is the last time you saw #TheOnion trending?”
He was talking about a popular hashtag that the twitterati use while tweeting about real news items which sound like they have been created by The Onion.
But surely The Onion is getting more traffic thanks to Facebook and Twitter?
“I wish I could tell you yes, but that would be like writing an Onion piece during an interview”, he lamented. “The fact is, we get some new traffic every now and then due to #NotTheOnion, but these new audiences are not sticky. They come to the Onion thanks to a bizarre news item which we can’t match even in a spoof. They’re hardly going to be impressed by what they see”
Are they facing a losing battle then? And what is their game plan?
“Yes, it’s bleak. But we’re planning to diverse into real news”