02 Apr, 2012
By Polly Kreisman
For those who still think theLoop was purchased by Rupert Murdoch (April 1, 2011), here is a list of some other April Fools day “stories” in history:
8. Econoland: In 2009, the Economist announced an economics-themed amusement park, complete with a “Dow Jones Roller Coaster.”
6. Belgium dissolves. In 1992, the Times of London reported that the north of Belgium was negotiating to join Holland, while the Walloon regions would become France’s hat. It was all hilarious until this nearly happened.
5. Columnist causes fishermen to panic. Monofilament, reported the Erie Times-News’ Dave Heberle in 1978, had been banned for potentially causing cancer in brook trout. A local shop sold out of the line, and Heberle was fired.
4. The Guardian becomes a Twitter-only publication. Most of its fellow publications, the paper noted in 2009, “now offer Twitter feeds of major breaking news headlines, while the Daily Mail recently pioneered an iPhone application providing users with a one-click facility for reporting suspicious behaviour by migrants or gays.”
3. The Old Lyme Gazette’s various hoaxes. Over the years, the weekly has announced it was being purchased by Charles Kuralt (who promised to double staff by cutting the reporters in half), and later that it was being purchased by the Soviet news agency TASS.
2. Ferrets lay cable for Virgin Media. “Our decision to use them is due to their strong nesting instinct, their long, lean build and inquisitive nature, and for their ability to get down holes,” project manager Jon James told The Telegraph in 2010.
1. San Seriffe. In 1977 the Guardian based an entire travel section on a semi-colon-shaped island in the Indian Ocean whose capital was Bodoni; popular beach towns were named Garamondo and Villa Pica. This remains the standard by which other newspaper hoaxes must be judged. The Guardian even got advertisers to create special San Seriffe-themed ads. You can read scans of the whole section here.
(top 8 newspaper hoaxes courtesy Poynter Institute)