Peel Back the News: The Onion App Review

Every traditional news outlet has some kind of app: Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail; but sometimes you get tired of reading the regular everyday news on your phone.

Today's Headlines
Today's Headlines

The Onion is a free “news” and entertainment app put out by The Onion for the iPhone and iPod Touch that is available from the App Store.

If you’re not familiar with The Onion, they bill themselves as “America’s finest news source.” Basically, The Onion is a satirical news service; once available only in print, they now provide online text, audio, and video content that mimics the style of traditional news outlets, while providing a much-needed dose of humour. Now, that content is available to you in a sleek, full-featured iPhone app.

Like everything The Onion does, this app boasts the same high quality you would expect from any major news outlet. The text and photo content loads quickly within the app, and the audio and video integration with YouTube is practically seamless. Searches respond quickly and accurately, and find appropriate articles and content from the archives quite easily. You are given the option to share content via Facebook or Twitter, and the app itself via Facebook, Twitter, or E-mail. Not only that, but the options to report a bug, request a feature, or even inquire as to advertising are all supported within the app.

Search Term: Apple
Search Term: Apple (of course)

The Onion app only has one sponsor, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, and their ad is visible on almost every page. This is somewhat less visually annoying, and probably more effective, than cycling through a series of different advertisers.

If there’s anything to complain about, it’s that there is some black-on-dark-green text (on tabs) that doesn’t show up very well on the iPhone screen. Also, some of the content is not appropriate for users under 18 years of age, but the app (and The Onion) make this clear from the get-go. Oh, and it’s not real news.

I’m impressed. The Onion app is not a result of “we need an app too” thinking; it’s solid, attractive, and stands on its own. News app developers would do well to take a cue from The Onion, who have made the only “news” app that merits a spot on my home screen.