News Parody Assignment

Local Students Write Parody News Articles

Dr. Joshua Cohen

September 4, 2019

ATLANTA, GA—Students in English 1101, “Serious Satire,” will write news article parodies due on September 20th. According to Professor Cohen, the goal of this project is to subvert, exaggerate, or otherwise humorously exploit the conventions of journalistic prose. Students will use a journalistic style and format for a non-newsworthy subject or invert a widely accepted value system. These news parodies will account for 15% of students’ grade in the course.

Students will model these news parodies on articles from The Onion. A student in a prior class wrote his article about scientists’ discovery of the “dangerous” chemical dihydrogen monoxide. To receive full credit, students should follow the format of a news article, including a headline, byline, and at least one image.

NewsRoom Logo Concept - The Onion
Shawn Hileman

A source close to Professor Cohen said that students should “employ the conventions of journalistic prose by opening with a summary of the story, keeping paragraphs concise, and incorporating quotations from experts and eyewitnesses.” These news parodies will be about 500 words.

Although students will have great flexibility in choosing their topics, they will have to follow a strict timetable. An initial proposal will be due September 6th, followed by a rough draft on September 18th.

To facilitate collaboration, students will participate in a peer review workshop on September 18th. During this workshop, students will give each other feedback on the content and design elements of their articles. They will have the opportunity to revise their articles before submitting the final draft on September 20th.

After submitting their news parodies, students will write one-page reflections to consider what they learned about genre, audience, and multimodality from this assignment due on September 23rd.

Student Work

Oliver Hvidsten, “Almond Milk Scandal Leaves Vegans Milkless”

To see more work from this semester, check out the Lifestyle Parody and Parody Video projects.