UCA Peels Back Layers of The Onion

Onions normally aren’t anything exciting, but one onion in particular will have quite an audience today.

Senior writer Jermaine Affonso and staff writer Seena Vali from The Onion will be in the Student Center Ballroom at 7 p.m. for a comedic presentation and question-and-answer session. All students are invited to attend the free event and meet the writers after the session.

The Onion is a popular satirical news website that reports fake articles on subjects like politics, sports and entertainment.

Kendra Regehr, director of student activities, said students selected The Onion as one of the top event suggestions at the Student Activity Board‘s selection party last semester.

The Onion was founded in 1988 at the University of Wisconsin by two college students who came up with the name while eating an onion sandwich. Former editorial manager Chet Clem said the founders were forced to eat the sandwich because they had such a low budget while starting the paper.

How does a writer find himself working for a parody publication like The Onion?

“My friends and I read The Onion a lot through high school and college, but writing for the paper itself always seemed pretty much unattainable,” Affonso said.

“In college, I got a better grasp of the fake news format through The University of Texas’ student humor publication, the Texas Travesty,” he said. “This was really instrumental in developing my skills in comedy writing and building ideas with a room of other writers.”

Affonso also explained why The Onion’s employees visit college campuses.

“We try to rotate our writers and editors in and out to visit different campuses across the country,” he said. “The best part of these events is seeing people responding to Onion jokes, since our writing process is inherently very removed from audience feedback … aside from Facebook comments, which are truly beyond awful.”

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