Star Media Group pulls the plug on The Onion/A.V. Club


Updated July 18 3:20 p.m.

Having been north of the border for less than a year, satirical newspaper The Onion and its pop-culture counterpart The A.V. Club have been shut down by Star Media Group.

An internal memo from Toronto Star publisher and SMG president John Cruickshank sent Thursday afternoon cited the most unsurprising reason for ceasing publication:

We are announcing today that Star Media Group will be suspending publication of the Toronto edition of The Onion, the U.S.-based weekly news parody newspaper, due to economic pressures that have resulted in declining advertising revenues.

A.V. Club editor John Semley confirmed the news on The A.V. Club's end via Twitter:

Through Cruickshank said in the memo that there would be no job losses as a result of the decision to stop distribruting The Onion, it appears the same cannot be said of The A.V. Club. 

When SMG launched the publications in September 2011, The Onion was simply running the U.S. version of the print edition, as Rhiannon Russell reported for J-Source when she attended the launch party

Under the agreement that the satirical paper had with SMG, the Star assumed control of the business side of things for the Toronto edition — namely, advertising and publishing responsibilites.

Toronto was The Onion's first foray into the international market, and when the partnership with SMG was announced, Steve Hannah, President and CEO of Onion Inc., noted that Toronto was consistently in its top 10 cities for online readers.

But as the newspaper industry has learned: Online audiences don't necessarily translate into print revenue. 


Comment Policy

J-Source invites comments on any content items or on any other topics relevant to journalism. Those posting comments are expected to adhere to standards of accuracy and fairness that would be recognized by those who practise, teach or study journalism.

  • Comments are restricted to registered users. You must register with your full first and last name in order to be eligible to comment.
  • Please communicate as effectively and intelligently as you would in a professional or academic forum, focusing on the issues at hand rather than the characters or characteristics of those involved.
  • This forum is intended for discussion of the craft of journalism, not of the issues of the day that journalists cover; please do not post story tips or press releases.
  • We moderate the forum for adherence to these standards of discourse, and reserve the right to decline any comment or restrict any user from commenting without giving reasons. Every effort is made to approve valid comments within 24 hours of submission.