Just two years ago today, the EqOnion was only a small idea lodged in the creative brains of a few students from Hempstead High School. Now, 731 days later, the satirical news website has developed into a multimedia superpower.
From its humble beginnings in the Lichti family basement, the EqOnion has diversified and expanded significantly since its creation. For its first birthday, the EqOnion and its staff members celebrated with a new domain, upgrading the site from its meager existence as a Mediacom Homepage, to a more fitting location for the one of the world’s leading sources in satirical news. The site also got an impressive facelift, a redesign in graphics and appearance that continues to exist today.
The EqOnion has continued to grow over the past year, shaping the issues and topics that were discussed by the students of Hempstead and people around the world. Since the candles were extinguished on the EqOnion’s first birthday cake, the website has formed a powerful alliance with the Hempstead Mustang Band, blanketed the Equestrian in advertising, hosted a comprehensive EqOnion experience for students attending Hempstead’s annual Spring Wind festivities, and teamed with Pollo Pictures to film a groundbreaking and monumental documentary detailing the extensive history of the website.
Landmark stories and reputation-shattering reporting has also marked the past year for the EqOnion. EqOnion staffers have delivered hard-hitting up-front news detailing holiday shoppers questioning of the relevance of Jesus to Christmas, caused controversy with the exposure of the Weinhold New Year’s Revolution Party communal wine debacle, and exposing a Dubuque Community School Districts crisis involving every teacher in the system retiring due to an incredible retirement package.
The website was also the first to break the news of President George W. Bush’s “No Child Gets Ahead” education policy, Jelly the Clown’s less-than-funny reception at area high schools, a portal to another dimension contained within a giant gap in a Hempstead hallway wall, and exposing an imposter EqOnion website created by menial sophomores in an A.P. World History class. A lack of EqOnion updates over the summer months evoked a resolution from the United Nations, demanding that “the world needs the EqOnion and its satirical wit to keep the world sane.”
The most memorable events in the past year of EqOnion history involve two very clever practical jokes played by prominent EqOnion executives. The first involved an elaborate scheme to convince English teacher Susan Swift that she would have to write 30 letters of recommendation for a “scholarship.” The award, offered by the “Society for the Preservation of Literature in Iowa” (SPLI), was actually a front created by EqOnion staffers in Swift’s class. The website was presented as a completely legitimate organization, and Swifty fell for the trick, until the students revealed to a shocked Swift the true nature of the website.
The other practical joke involved the tampering of the EqOnion itself. Unbeknownst to any EqOnion staff members or fans, Josh Lichti and Josh Weinhold hashed a plot to make people believe the EqOnion would be taken off the web forever. On April 1, 2004, when the EqOnion page was opened, all that appeared was a white screen with a simply typed letter. The letter was from Lichti and Weinhold, informing readers that satirical competitor “The Onion” was suing the EqOnion for copyright infringement. Instead of engaging in a costly legal battle, the letter said, the site would be taken down. Many students and faculty at Hempstead fell for the trick, questioning the two senior editors about it, until the scheme was revealed with a simple headline: “YOU GOT PUNK’D!”
The significance and magnitude of the EqOnion’s effect can not go unnoticed, especially considering recent events. The EqOnion was the first to reveal the ongoing relationship between Science “teacher” Nathan Oswald and rookie English teacher Andrea Griswold. Gossip surrounding the nature of the relationship swirled around Hempstead, fueled by the information the EqOnion provided. Just over a year later, the EqOnion is proud to announce, Griswold and Oswald are now engaged and in the process of planning a wedding.
Many have thought, with nearly all staff members off to college, that the EqOnion is dead. Two years seems like a very short lifespan for such an amazing and life-changing publication. But the EqOnion cannot continue to survive on its own. EqOnion executives are calling on the students of Hempstead to step up to the plate and show that they have what it takes to be a member of the staff. If the students of Hempstead no longer contain any satire and cynicism within their veins, then the editors request that ideas and happenings at Hempstead are submitted, so satirical material will continue to be featured on the pages of the EqOnion for years to come.
The EqOnion would like to thank all our beloved fans for making these two amazing years possible. Without you, we would have no reason to do what we do. Hearing your laughter throughout Hempstead at our material has been absolutely incredible. We hope the pure joy and satisfaction caused by our small website continues for decades.
Check out the Archives to read the stories mentioned
Download the Documentary created for Spring Wind