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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


‘The Onion’ teaches campus “finest” journalism

Two University of Wisconsin alumni returned to satirical newspaper The Onion’s hometown last night as part of the Wisconsin Union’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Joe Garden and Carol Kolb gave audience members an inside view of the fake news source to a background of laughter during the evening’s programming.

The lecture started by comparing The Onion to other news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times and The Badger Herald.


Compared to these sources, Garden said The Onion was on top with 100 “trillion” readers, putting CNN in second place with its five trillion. For journalistic integrity,The Onion scored a perfect six out of six, while The New York Times scored at a five and The Badger Herald at a zero, “because they have no journalistic integrity whatsoever,” Garden said.

“We’re all friends, and I feel bad showing you people these charts,” Kolb said amid laughter from the audience.

Garden and Kolb also featured some of The Onion’s popular articles and video clips. Headlines drawing some of the most attention from the audience included:

-“I’ll Be Able to Get This Big Pot of Chili Over to My Friends House if I Put on These Roller Skates”

-“Guy in Philosophy Class Needs to Shut the Fuck Up”

-“Governor Walker Should Be Flogged for his Inability to Control his Underlings”

-“Child Bankrupts Make-A-Wish Foundation With Wish for Unlimited Wishes”

Following their presentation, Garden and Kolb opened the floor up for questions, and the lecture took on a more serious nature.

Both Garden and Kolb said the thought process of each of the paper’s writers involves what goes on within each individual’s head and can vary with each writer.

“It’s whatever I happen to be obsessed about at any given time, usually dolphins or technology,” Garden said. Garden later added, “Sometimes life just gives you Herman Cain.”

When asked if The Onion had ever been sued, Kolb emphasized constitutional rights.

She also added that publicity from suing The Onion would not be worth much anymore as their news has an established reputation for not being credible.

“There’s a little thing called the First Amendment, and it has served us very well,” Kolb said.

Still, Garden and Kolb agreed that research remains an integral part to their writing process.

Kolb used an example of spelling Obama’s name wrong and how a writer would not want to do it, while Garden emphasized that this type of inaccuracy takes away from the humor of the paper.

The two ended their time by explaining how to use satire as a tool to examine subjects or issues in an effective way to bring important issues to the public in relation. This, they said, is how The Onion has impacted society.

UW freshman Andrew Schultz said he found the lecture to be both a fun and entertaining experience.

“The lecture was interesting in how you could tell from the way they talked that their workplace was the same as their writing: fun and laid back,” Schultz said.

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