THE WEEKLY GRIND: April Fools in the News

April Fools’ Day pranks aren’t really my style. Call me a fun sucker, but I’m just not into the holiday. But this year, I couldn’t help but notice the sheer number of jokes and gags that were circulating on the Internet. It seemed like every webpage I visited, I wasn’t quite sure what was real and what was just a hoax.

Some of them were to be expected-I mean, come on, Google Nose, Gmail Blue and treasure mode in Google Maps? Hulu was advertising fake shows, Twitter decided to begin charging users for typing vowels (Twttr does have a nice ring to it, though), and YouTube was all just some scam to find the best video ever posted on the Internet. Nevertheless, I was very impressed at the lengths these major companies went to make their stories believable. It makes me wonder how any other (legitimate) work got done these past few months…

These humorous jests are just that-silly and harmless. But what happens when reputable organizations like media outlets, and even the White House, take part in the fun? I personally fell in love with the White House’s “Kid President” prank; if you haven’t seen it, you must, so click here to watch. But printing and broadcasting fake April Fools’ Day stories as news-well, for me that’s a little too far.

ABC’s Good Morning America broadcast a story about talking gorillas. The UK’s Daily Mirror published a report that Virgin Airlines was developing a glass-bottomed plane. A tech blog called Simply Zesty announced Facebook had unveiled a new feature that let users see who viewed their profiles. The U.S. military took the cat meme way too far in a press release stating it would use military working cats alongside military police. Even the Yale Daily News participated in the foolery, posting online about chicken tenders day and a scale-back of the College’s STEM recruitment.

The worst offender was a Turkish news outlet that claimed Washington, D.C. was destroyed by an earthquake. The quake had a magnitude of 8.7 and the number of casualties was “unknown.”

The Ramapo News didn’t partake in April Fools’ Day trickery, but what do you think we would have done if we had? Our graphic designers came up with some good fake stories to fill up our mockup of the website when it was in its design stage, including articles about oil drilling on campus, President Mercer’s Havemeyer House being taken over by professors, dining services offering exclusive sushi kits and baby seals on display in the Kameron pond.

What other crazy story ideas can you come up with for us? There’s always next year…

That’s all the news for now-Nicole