City Desk

WaPo and the Onion: Splitsville

The Washington Post and satirical mag the Onion are ending their nearly two-year-old publishing partnership for the Washington market. The Post has handled printing and local ad sales for the Onion under a cooperative arrangement that hasn't withstood the test of time, recession, ad depression, etc.

"It's apparently not terribly profitable to publish newspapers these days, as far as I know," says Kyle Ryan, associate editor of the A.V. Club, the Onion's arts section. "We had an agreement with them, and now it’s just ending, is the really boring, generic summary of it."

Ryan says that the Onion's Washington staff, currently housed at the Arlington headquarters of Washington Post.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), will move to new offices in April and will hire staff to handle the functions formerly handled by the Post.

When asked which partner had pushed to end the partnership, Ryan responded, "It may have been initiated by the Post because, to some degree, they were doing a lot of heavy lifting..."

Ryan says the idea behind the partnership was to create a "mutually beneficial" arrangement for both media outlets. In scrapping the deal, the two are agreeing to become cutthroat competitors for D.C. eyeballs. Toward that end, the Onion will be launching this spring, a platform that'll give an online voice to the paper's customized Washington content.

Inquiries to top Washington Post Co. officials were not immediately returned. City Desk will update this story as soon as they do, if not sooner!

Update 5:27 pm: Washington Post Media Chief Executive Officer Katharine Weymouth had this to say on the matter, via e-mail: "We are big fans of The Onion, and our sales and distribution partnership with them came to a natural and mutually agreed upon end."

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