Growing up in Madison, Wisconsin where The Onion was founded in 1988, we knew we had something special. Something that was a quirky addition to our quirky city. In addition to having had two of my pieces published in the 1990’s during my short stay there, I spent a summer delivering the laughs that we’ve come to expect from the newspaper in a beat up old pickup truck where I would begin my day at 5AM. Sadly, I’m not sure I remember a time when people were so happy to see me.
In 1996, The Onion finally got the attention it deserved when it first went online. However, at least to me, The Onion was a local “newspaper” whose bottom three inches were filled with coupons to various local businesses. The majority of these coupons were for businesses that catered to students and stoners. There were a lot of pizza coupons.
The Onion print edition
The print edition of the rag at one point was distributed free of charge in 17 U.S. cities before The Onion saw the same sagging ad sales that have decimated the printed word. Last year, the paper stopped its print edition in New York and more sadly this summer saw Madison, WI lose its edition. From there it was only a matter of time before today’s announcement.
The last print editions — in Providence, R.I., Milwaukee and the paper’s home city (though not home town) of Chicago — will run on Dec. 12. While certainly and end of an era, The Onion’s online edition will live on for the foreseeable future given its 7.5 million monthly visitors.
Mike McAvoy on Onion’s growth
Onion, Inc. President Mike McAvoy said the company’s focus in recent years has been on “growing the digital side” of the business.
“While the print edition is an important part of our history, we are very excited for the opportunities that come with prioritizing digital for even greater company growth,” McAvoy said in a statement.
“We believe our move to an all-digital brand, alongside our content — which is funnier than ever — will position us for continued success the next 25 years,” McAvoy said.
Let’s hope so, because I don’t know what I would do without headlines like “Black Guy Given Nation’s Worst Job” when President Barack Obama was elected or the timeless: “Kitten Thinks of Nothing But Murder All Day.”