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Unfortunately, The Onion, which lives up to its slogan of being "America's finest news source" by turning headlines into joy buzzers, isn't immune from the downturn in print journalism. In a recently released memo, Onion CEO Steve Hannah confirms plans to shut down papers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Fears that this move might portend a shut-down of the Denver/Boulder branch seem enhanced by the fact that Jason Heller, the local edition's city editor (and overseer of the affiliated Denver Decider website), is leaving the post he's held for the past three years. However, Hannah's memo denies that any more Onions are in danger of having their plug pulled, specifically citing the Colorado markets as among those that are "growing nicely, and in some cases dramatically." And according to Heller, "I had made my decision and put in my notice before the closures were announced or even hinted at." His move was motivated by a desire "to get back to writing. This experience has been awesome, but my strength and passion is writing, and there are so many freelance opportunities out there right now. That kind of freedom really appeals to me."
Among the places Heller's name will be popping up is The A.V. Club, the Onion's entertainment wing -- and don't be surprised if he also types a word or two for Westword, to which he contributed on a regular basis from 2002 to 2006. As for the future of the Denver/Boulder Onion, he says "there's not the remotest danger of it being closed as far as I can tell."
Good thing -- because that wouldn't have been a laughing matter.