Knox Graduate Works as Editorial Intern at 'The Onion'

Satirical newspaper and website provides learning opportunities

October 03, 2012

Marnie Shure with Abe Lincoln impersonator on Flunk DayIn her role as editorial intern at The Onion, a well-known satirical newspaper and website, 2011 Knox College graduate Marnie Shure helps research stories -- and occasionally appears in them.

For example, in an Onion article headlined, "Scientists Teach Chimpanzee to Conduct 3-Year Study on Primates," the accompanying parody photo features a couple of chimps and Shure, who is dressed as a scientist.

"I love assisting the photo and video shoots for different stories," said Shure, a native of La Grange, Illinois, who double-majored in creative writing and French at Knox and participated in the college's study abroad program in Besançon, France (photo below left). "It's fun to see your face pop up on the website for the purposes of a great story!" (Photo at right: Marnie Shure with Abraham Lincoln impersonator on Flunk Day 2011.)

A longtime fan and reader of The Onion, Shure said she applied for the internship "on a whim, assuming I would never get it," she said.

"But I was confident with my resume and cover letter skills, courtesy of Terrie Saline, as well as Professor Sean Mills, both of whom helped me draft them. So I went for it -- and found to my surprise that I was chosen!"

Terrie Saline is director of the Center for Career & Pre-Professional Development at Knox, and Sean Mills is a 1990 Knox graduate and former visiting assistant professor of English.

Marnie Shure in BescanconSince starting the internship in July, Shure has had the opportunity to observe, learn about, and participate in The Onion's behind-the-scenes processes. The internship, based in Chicago, will continue through December.

Her work duties vary from day to day, but basically Shure and a second editorial intern spend their days organizing files, taking notes at meetings, helping with video shoots, compiling research for story writers, and fact-checking story drafts.

Fact-checking? At The Onion?

Shure explained further: "Ha-ha, I thought the same thing when they handed me my first copy to fact-check! It's actually a quite important step of the process because while the 'news' being reported isn't real, the setup of every story is. The jokes fail if the information surrounding the actual event isn't 100% correct."

Shure said her experiences at Knox have benefited her in the internship.

"A lot of the work day here involves group meetings and projects, and Knox's small classroom settings and workshop classes made that a familiar experience by the time I came to The Onion."

She added that she appreciates being able to contribute to The Onion, where she constantly is learning something new and working with helpful, friendly colleagues.

"It's really fun coming into the office each day," Shure said. "About as much laughter as you'd expect."