Scott Dikker Discusses “The Onion”

What is one surprising fact you learned about him? Does this help you provide context for his talk?

One surprising fact that I learned about Scott Dikkers before listening to the podcast was that he is the head of a program called “Writing with The Onion” which is partnered with The Second City in Chicago. I found this fact interesting because I know that a lot of famous comedians have been a part of The Second City; this helped provide context for the talk, because I was prepared to listen to a really funny person.

During the interview, Scott mentions that The Onion became a newspaper parody because printing a magazine was too expensive so newsprint was their only option. If you were setting out to create The Onion in 2017, what would it look like?

If I were setting out to create The Onion in 2017 it would probably look like an online newspaper. This would not only be a more affordable option than print, but also more accessible. I would hope to have an online following on websites like Facebook and Twitter where people could share and react to articles.

Write down something Scott says and fact check it. Is he right? Wrong? Somewhere in between?

During the podcast, Scott Dikkers said that when The Onion relocated to Chicago from New York 80 percent of the staff was lost. According to The Atlantic, 16 out of 27 full-time employees agreed to move to Chicago; this is only about 60 percent of the staff. Therefore, Dikkers was wrong, but it was just a harmless exaggeration.

Summarize in a paragraph the point of the interview.

I think that the point of the interview was to discuss the importance of being able to make fun of the news. The Onion is a platform that allows people to put a satirical spin on the news. The Onion works to provide readers with the best possible joke on a subject, and never repeat itself. In the interview Scott Dikkers describes the cross over between humor and humanity, and the ability to give readers the opportunity to exhale after a major news event. Laughter is a powerful coping method, and The Onion helps people heal after tragedies.

Now write a headline that summarizes the interview.

Scott Dikkers Peels Back the Layers of “The Onion” on WGN

Ask one of your classmates on this email what stood out to them the most in the interview. Share that in your post. Include their full name and major.

Isabella Pazmino, a Public Relations major said, “what stood out for me was the vision that Scott Dikkers had when he decided to write about Trump.”

What did this teach you about media writing and the concept of “We are all the media now”?

This podcast reinforced the power of media writing; an example of this is the fact that people have sued The Onion for creating fake stories about them. Even though the stories are intentionally fake, people still get offended because the media is so powerful. This podcast reminded me of the concept that “we are all the media now.” The Onion puts a satirical spin on the news, so it is important to keep that in mind when consuming and sharing media.

What was most useful to you about this experience?

I think that the most useful part of this experience was learning about how articles from The Onion start out. Scott Dikkers talked about how often times they begin with somber conversations, because they deal with sensitive subjects; an example of this was the article that came out after the 9/11 terror attack. These articles are created with the goal of making people laugh, which is an important element of the healing process after tragedies. I thought this was interesting to learn about, because I really enjoy The Onion, and I have often wondered how the writers come up with their story ideas.

Anything else to add?

I thought that this was a really great podcast. As a college student I found Scott Dikkers story really inspiring; The Onion became a newspaper parody on newsprint because printing a magazine was too expensive, and now it is really well-known and adored by many. I think this sends a great message to all people, especially students, that hard work can lead to a really successful career.

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