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Scott Dikkers, Founder of the Onion, to Present MCLA’s 2022 Hardman Lecture

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will welcome Scott Dikkers, author, comedy writer, and founder of humor newspaper and now website the Onion, on Thursday, Sept. 29, when he will present MCLA’s Hardman Lecture, “Fake News in the Age of Misinformation: The History of the Onion and How the Philosophies and Practices Have Adapted Over Time,” at 7 p.m. in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.

This lecture event is free and open to the public. This series presents in-depth discussions with some of the leading journalists of our time and is made possible through the generosity of the Hardman Family Endowment.

With the Onion, Dikkers created a small college humor publication and grew it into one of today’s most recognized comedy platforms at theonion.com. He’ll share his experiences about how being committed to a unique vision — and standing firm in the face of seemingly impossible challenges and threats — can translate into genuine differentiation and robust brand equity for any organization.

As co-founder and longest-serving editor-in-chief of the Onion, Dikkers has written multiple comedy books. His work has won him a Peabody award, the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and dozens of Webby Awards. In addition, he earned the number-43 spot on Time magazine’s list of the Top 50 “Cyber Elite,” alongside such iconic figures as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and George Lucas.

In his latest book, Outrageous Marketing: The Story of The Onion and How to Build a Powerful Brand with No Marketing Budget, and his many speaking engagements, Dikkers details how he staffed the company with quirky individuals who often had unstable family environments similar to his and shared his dark sense of humor.

In the Hardman Lecture, Dikkers will reflect on the freedom and support he gave his writing team that enabled the Onion to break through the noise in a media-saturated landscape, overcome doubters and legal obstacles, and prove time and again that being outrageous leads to the best possible version of a brand. He will also dive into some of the most basic principles that can help transcend an organization’s marketing limitations, get the best work out of the employees, and attract devoted, lifelong customers.

A student and faculty question-and-answer session will be held at 4:15 p.m. in the Freel Library on Sept. 29 prior to the evening lecture.

Upcoming fall lecturers at MCLA will include New York Times bestselling author and the chair of Princeton’s Department of African Studies, Eddie Glaude Jr., who will present the 2022 Michael S. and Kitty Dukakis Public Policy Lecture, “Race & Democracy: America is Always Changing, but America Never Changes” on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.

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