No Joke: The Onion Wins One of Journalism’s Biggest Awards

Published on April 1, 2009
by Peter Kafka

onion-news-networkIt’s not layoff news, and it’s not an April Fools prank: The Onion has won a Peabody, one of journalism’s most highfalutin awards.

The Peabodys, administered out of the University of Georgia, date back to 1941, and honor “the most outstanding achievements in electronic media, including radio, television and cable.” They tend to go to earnest television documentaries and the like, but they also allow for some very smart, quirky stuff.

Hence the award for the weekly’s “Onion News Network” video site, which debuted two years ago but has really been hitting its stride lately (disclosure: I’m pals with some Onion people). Per the judges: “The satirical tabloid’s online send-up of 24-hour cable-TV news was hilarious, trenchant and not infrequently hard to distinguish from the real thing.”

Other winners include the New York Times’s (NYT) excellent Web site, CBS’s (CBS) “60 Minutes” and… “Lost,” from Disney’s (DIS) ABC. But none of those are as fun to embed as Onion clips.

Here’s the Onion’s most recent effort:

Morning Show Host Starts Charity to Rid World of Flying Debris

And here’s a beauty that, like some other Onion stories, got digested as bonafide news in some places:

Prague’s Franz Kafka International Named World’s Most Alienating Airport

And while this one isn’t technically an Onion clip, I’ve always enjoyed its many meta qualities:

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