The Broadcaster is taking a break from our beloved, 16-year tradition of producing “The Onion”, a satirical April Fools edition. Every year, staff writers take the opportunity to flex their comedic muscles and produce wildly hilarious articles satirizing school events. Among our most popular was an article suggesting that Mike Rice, the abusive basketball coach from Rutgers University, would be taking over our high school basketball program. Parents called the school outraged, only to discover that the article was facetious. I note, however, that The Onion is clearly titled with an unusual, green heading, and that there is an actual, satirical publication called The Onion, so most of our readers are well informed that these articles are written for the purpose of playful humor.
Humor is a core tradition for The Broadcaster dating back to the earliest publications in the 1940s, where staff writers would produce humorous articles entitled the “Funny Papers”. Our goal as an organization even is, and always has been, to inform the public on school news, encourage student journalism, and to foster an enjoyment of writing in our local community. We want to celebrate student talent and encourage Morristown residents to derive enjoyment from it. But, unfortunately, this tradition needs to take a pause because of a viral disease plaguing modern news…
As we wrote earlier in the year, we do not stand for fake news. Through the microcosm of social media, writers and bloggers are taking advantage of readers and producing false, unfactual articles to encourage readers to click on them. Large amounts of clicks on an article bring in revenue to websites, and thus these sadistic journalists make money off of the misfortune of their readers. These articles then get shared and thousands of individuals take harmful, incorrect information about politics and world news to be true simply because it’s on the internet. Fake news skyrocketed during the presidential election this fall, with hundreds of thousands of users sharing false articles about the candidates written by bloggers with the sole purpose of garnering clicks.
Unfortunately, our Onion falls too closely in line with “tricking” readers into believing false information, despite our efforts to make it clear that these are satirical articles. We don’t want to support fake news in any way. So, until this epidemic quells, we are refraining from potentially adding to the pool of confusing news out there.
For the time being, please read through our archive of Onion articles. And be sure to check your sources when sharing an article to ensure that they are factual and reliable.