May 3, 2023 - News

The Needling satirizes Seattle. Here's who's behind it

A circular logo featuring silhouettes of the Space Needle and evergreen trees

Illustration: Courtesy of The Needling

Admit it, Seattle deserves gentle mockery at times and savvy media consumers know where to turn for a dose of that: The Needling, one of Seattle's newest publications, which delivers Onion-like satire about the Emerald City.

Driving the news: We talked with founder Lex Vaughn, who started The Needling in 2018 after working as a Seattle Times reporter and a King County communications specialist.

  • Vaughn expects readership to hit 100,000 this year.

Why it matters: Too often when a person works in journalism or politics, they have to bite their tongue, Vaughn told Axios. "As someone obsessed with chasing the truth, this is a chance to cut through to the heart of what is really happening," she said. "Humor is ironic truth-telling and it is very creatively satisfying to do that through satire."

What they're saying: "My favorite thing about Seattle (residents) so far is that they're willing to make fun of themselves," she said."People are protective of their city but there is a big audience for ripping on Seattle."

Backstory: Vaughn joined her high school newspaper after watching "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." Her aim was to get jokes in the paper, she said, but somewhere along the line she "accidentally got the real journalism bug."

Be smart: The most difficult and time-consuming part of writing effective satire isn't sitting down at the keyboard, but finding good headlines and concepts and backing them up with research.

  • Among the many would-be satire writers who sign up for Vaughn's Real Fake Newsroom Workshop, the biggest struggle is recognizing that it's perfectly normal and okay for most story ideas to miss the mark. "You have to consistently write down ideas but also admit that a lot of them suck," she said.

What's next: Branching out into selling merchandise and figuring out a way to make The Needling profitable enough that she doesn't have to work side gigs.


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