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Does the Onion’s print die-off include the Twin Cities?

Was out at the neighborhood coffee shop this evening and sought out a copy of the Onion, curious to see how ad-fat it remained in these days of print-media pain.

Perhaps it was Oreo Cookie Dough ice cream-fueled bliss, or my immersion in “New Video Game Technology Finally Allows Rendering of Smaller Breasts,” but my study was sadly forgotten. However, when I got home, up popped this story from Gawker, which claims the humor kings will shutter papers in L.A. and San Francisco.

The story, based on a single unnamed staffer, addresses our local situation, and the news is good:

It’s true other editions are set to keep going. The Onion, said our spy, will retain its New York paper for the immediate future, though it is rumored to be doing only “marginally” well. Reportedly healthier are papers in Denver and the midwest, a region that has Onion editions in Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The California papers are newbies, begun in 2005 and 2006 at the end of an economic boom that has hit the Golden State much harder than here. The Onion’s Minneapolis edition isn’t much older, born in 2004.

It’s no secret the Onion is awesome, but it’s no secret that its core audience (for advertisers, anyway) is exactly the type that doesn’t read papers anymore.

I’ll do some checking on this tomorrow, which should be interesting because I have zero connections in that shop. In the meantime, if anyone knows anything, add a comments or use the email address at right.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Mitch Berg on 05/04/2009 - 09:49 pm.

    As I understand it, the local printed editions are franchised out by the Onion’s central office. The Onion itself wouldn’t be (as I understand it) the entity doing the shuttering; it’d be the franchisees.

    I could be wrong; my source was someone who approached the Onion about buying a TC franchise back in about 1998.

  2. Submitted by Scott Henry on 05/05/2009 - 10:13 am.

    I’m somewhat surprised that the Onion’s print edition is still going in the Twin Cities. It looks as if it’s been on life-support for at least the last year. Their page and ad counts are both down since Vita.mn started to gain some steam, but it doesn’t appear as if anyone is doing any growing in this economy. The Onion’s ad base has primarily been focused on beer and the bar scene. It appears they’re challenged to broaden that customer base, so they have a limited revenue stream.

  3. Submitted by Bill Connell on 05/05/2009 - 12:05 pm.

    This week’s Onion was noticeably thinner; made me wonder about this even before seeing this story. It would be disappointing to lose the Onion, the franchise organization seemed like a pretty solid business idea, and the local arts coverage has generally been good.

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