Satirical journalism, or news satire, has become an increasingly popular form of modern day journalism. Satirical news sites and articles are intentionally designed to mimic genuine news websites, but instead, present fictitious content that is created with the intent to offer a humorous twist to mainstream journalism. News satire heavily relies on deadpan humour and irony in order for people to understand that the ‘story’ has been made up.
News satire brings lighthearted humour and can often brighten up our newsfeeds, which are so often flooded with traumatic, conflicting and heavy news content from around the world. News satire can often take people off guard as it can come across as a legitimate news source. The realistic layout and headlines of satirical stories can often confuse people that are not familiar with satirical journalism. This provokes individuals to question and challenge the information they read online.
The Betoota Advocate, a well-known Australian news satire site who claims to be Australia’s oldest newspaper, has picked up a loyal and large online following. Making their transition online in September 2014, the news satire site is quickly overtaking other famous news sites in popularity, such as ‘The Onion.’ With over 400,000 Facebook likes, the Betoota Advocate is well known for its satirical take on all types of news, stretching from international political headlines to local Betoota stories. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a big fan and a regular target for Betoota headlines, is very vocal about the company, even launching their latest book called ‘Betoota’s Australia.”
The Betoota Advocate accurately depicts Australian culture, politics, sport and every aspect of Australian society. Headlines such as “We Voted To Protect The Sanctity Of Marriage!” Says Local Couple Enjoying Reruns Of Married At First Sight’ and ‘Arnott’s Executive Responsible For New And Improved Shapes Biscuits Loses Appeal Against 47-Year Prison Sentence’ focus on the hard hitting topics of current Australian society and use humour in a way to satirically poke fun at the seriousness of these issues. The popularity of The Betoota Advocate has increased during the last year or so, with Facebook Traffic to the page surpassing that of popular American satire sites such as ‘The Onion’ and ‘The Shovel.’ This has proved beneficial for Betoota writers Clancy Overall and Errol Parker as they have gained a sufficient amount of attention online and are able to monetise on their success through advertisements.
The Betoota Advocate attracts a large audience, but their main demographic encompass 18-24 internet savvy individuals. The reason Betoota attracts this age group is because this demographic have an interest in understanding the internet, but are also familiar with political and news focussed stories. The majority of Betoota posts are also focussed towards appealing to this generation, as many posts include aspects of social media and relatable content. The Betoota Advocate is an example of a successful satirical business that encompasses the Australian modern day culture.