The Onion Is All Fun And Games Until Somebody Gets Hurt And Then They Are Heartless Money-Grubbing Corporate Greedheads Just Like All The Rest

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DAILY NEWS: Emily Guendelsberger doesn’t have health insurance, so she will be wholloped with medical bills associated with the surgery she needs to fix her leg, which was broken in last Saturday night’s stampede of marauding teens down Broad St. Guendelsberger is the local arts and entertainment editor for The Onion, the satirical news and entertainment site, and she is not covered under its health-care plan. My colleague Dan Gross asked an Onion spokeswoman if the company would help Guendelsberger with her bills anyway. Here was the cagey answer. “We can’t divulge any details surrounding the compensation or benefits packages of our employees,” Onion spokeswoman Anne Finn told Dan.  “We will say that when we heard about the events that transpired, we were shocked and saddened. Our hearts immediately went out to Emily and we wanted to leave the option for people to help her.” Isn’t that wonderful? They wanted to “leave the option for people to help,” not “leave the option for The Onion to help.” So they set up a PayPal account so that others – i.e., not The Onion – could help Guendelsberger. MORE

DAN GROSS: Nonetheless, while Guendelsberger, a former Daily News copy editor, remains hospitalized, donations are pouring into “The A.V. Club’s Emily Guendelsberger Fund” set up to accept PayPal funds to MGilmer@avclub.com. The local edition of the Onion, which is full of fake news but real entertainment coverage, which Guendelsberger oversees, is published in partnership with Philadelphia Media Network, owner of the Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com. PMN spoksman Mark Block would not say if the company would contribute, but said the company “Is supportive of our employees contributing,” to the Onion’s PayPal account. MORE

RELATED: The Onion has been around since 1988; founded by Tim Keck and Christopher, then two juniors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and originally supported by ad revenue from local restaurants and small businesses. The Onion is now distributed free in 11 cities across America (with a print circulation of nearly 700,000), has published 9 collected volumes, and produced its own feature film, The Onion Movie. Since starting the online edition in 1996, they’ve expanded to include the A/V Club, which regularly features film/music reviews and interviews, and the Onion News Network, daily online video parodies, for which the site has invested more than $1 million and hired 15 new staffers. According to the 2008 MediaKit, online readership runs at an average of more than 5 million unique monthly visitors (the AV Club recently passed 1 million). According to a 2003 CNN article, The Onion, which started with only an $8000 loan from Keck’s mother, was by 1994 “generating $1 million a year in ad revenue and a few hundred thousand dollars in profit.” Annual revenues really took off after The Onion started up the website.  The Onion now averages more than $10 million in annual profit. Not bad for just making it all up. MORE

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