Aug 022011
Authors: Matt Miller

For the first time since it began publishing in 1891, this issue of the Collegian will have something entirely new tucked inside its pages. Inserted into this issue is the satirical newspaper, “The Onion.”

Through a deal between the Associated Students of CSU, “The Onion” and Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation, “The Onion” will be inserted as a tabloid into the Collegian every Wednesday.

“The Onion” staff provides all of the content in the insert, and all local advertisement sales go to RMSMC. “The Onion” has no control over Collegian content and the Collegian advertising department provides all local advertisement sales.

ASCSU paid the initial licensing fee, which came from student fees without a fee increase. Collegian advertisement sales will pay for all printing and production costs that go into providing “The Onion.”

“I think it’s a great partnership with ‘The Onion’ to provide students with something they clearly want,” said ASCSU President Eric Berlinberg. As one of his campaign promises, Berlinberg approached RMSMC to provide “The Onion.”

The satirical newspaper is currently offered throughout Denver, as well as on campus at CU-Boulder. However, in these areas it is a stand-alone newspaper.

“The Collegian is very widely know and well-liked and we didn’t want to take away from that,” Berlinberg said. “We would never want there to be competition between the Collegian and ‘The Onion’ for pickup rate.”

In order to avoid this competition, Berlinberg made an agreement with RMSMC to provide “The Onion” as an insert rather than a stand-alone product.

Berlinberg said he wanted to bring “The Onion” to campus in order to accomplish three goals: provide students with something they wanted, provide RMSMC with an additional revenue source and increase the readership of the Collegian.

“I’m really interested to see the pickup and see how fast the papers go,” Berlinberg said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if students make it part of their morning routine to pick up Collegians.”

Larry Steward, the president of RMSMC, agrees that providing students with the satirical newspaper will help increase the pickup of the Collegian.

“’The Onion’ has a strong national brand,” Steward said. “I think it will increase pickup rate.”
He added that RMSMC, a non-profit organization, sees the insert as a reader service.

“The benefit is really for CSU and its readers,” Steward said. “All I’ve heard from students is very positive feedback.”
Media experts outside of CSU agree that providing “The Onion” on campus is a good business move.

“After 35 years in the business I would say that’s a winner of an idea,” said Tim McGuire the former editor and senior vice president of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. “I would predict this idea is stolen.”

McGuire, who is the Frank Russell Chair for the business of journalism at the Cronkite School at Arizona State University, said that the partnership with “The Onion” is a great way to provide for the Collegian’s audience.

“It’s going to increase (the Collegian’s) audience and pickup rate,” McGuire said. “There is a natural synergy there, so I think advertisers will want to be in the paper.”

He said that this type of business arrangement is not an unusual one for newspapers –– his paper, the Star Tribune, used to have a USA Weekly insert.

McGuire said his only concern was of a possible conflict of interest with ASCSU since the student government was involved in a deal with the paper.

However, Steward said the Collegian newsroom is in no way involved with the deal.

In order to celebrate “The Onion” arriving at CSU, Berlinberg said he is planning a party in September.

He plans on having a writer from “The Onion” speak on campus and also have an evening party in Old Town that same day.
“The Onion” will appear again in the Collegian on Aug. 24 and every Wednesday from then on. The deal is for one year, and Steward said it would continue next year based off of the success of “The Onion” on campus.

_News Editor Matt Miller can be reached at _

What is the onion?

  • The Onion” is a satirical newspaper that was founded in 1988 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison as a student newspaper. The humorous publication, which originally targeted its local student readers, has now spread to an international audience through print, radio, broadcast and Internet outlets.
  • It is published in places such as Denver, Boulder, New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Toronto.
  • It will be published in the Collegian every Wednesday.
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