APRIL 1: WHO DID YOU FOOL?
The Times was caught out this weekend when it lifted a spoof story from the Jewish News without checking if it was correct.
The story was run as a joke to mark the festival Purim which is the
Jewish community’s version of April Fool’s Day. The piece claimed that
glamour model Jordan was to feature on a set of stamps brought out to
mark the bicentenary of the modern post office, which was founded by a
Jewish postmaster general.
The piece quoted fictional president
of the Jewish Philatelic Association, Leonard Riskin, saying: “She may
be popular with certain sections of society, but Jordan hardly
epitomises the values we wish to encourage in our own community. This
is supposed to be the Royal Mail, not the red-blooded male.”
It also included a made-up quote from the Post Office.
Both quotes were lifted word for word, without being checked, and used in a story on the Times’ Faith Register page on Saturday.
News deputy editor Zeddie Lawrence, who wrote the spoof piece, said: “I
was most amused – we just wrote it for our small Jewish audience. To
see it picked up by a national, who lifted our quotes word for word,
reflects rather badly on the quality of journalism standards in our
national newspapers. It is something we would never do.”
Last word on Savage?
I doubt that Blackburn’s Welsh hard-man midfielder Robbie Savage is
a reader of The Guardian or The Independent. If he was, he would be
baffled at each paper’s interpretation of manager John Toshack’s quotes
following Wales’ defeat by Austria.
According to the Indy, reporting from Cardiff in its edition last
Friday, Toshack “yesterday gave the strongest hint to date that Robbie
Savage will never play for Wales again”.
But The Guardian, also
last Friday, reported from Vienna: “John Toshack and Robbie Savage may
yet be reconciledâ€¦ Toshack gave his most conciliatory answer yet to a
question about a possible international return for the Blackburn
Carrier spoof drives golfers to distraction
Keen golfers were more than teed off when they turned up to board an
exciting new aircraft carrier golf course they had heard about in their
monthly read, Golf News.
March’s issue featured a story about the imminent arrival of the
carrier, which had been converted into a three-hole course, into Dover.
It claimed it would sail readers around the UK, stirring the curiosity
of a host of media organisations.
But on the day, golfers were
disappointed to find the whole story was a joke dreamed up by editor
Nick Bayly for April Fool’s Day.
Bayly sniggered: “We were
surprised by how many readers and other media organisations were
suckered into thinking it was a real deal.”
Revealing the prank, the magazine’s next issue will carry the headline “Fool if you think it’s (D)over”.
Changing names is no laughing matter
The Scotsman’s Paul Drury and Jim McBeth produced a cracking April
Fool’s Day spoof in which European bureaucrats were said to be pushing
forward legislation to change Scottish place names that offend or
discriminate on the grounds of race or gender.
The story claimed that German commissioner Arol Pilof had demanded
“race- and gender-sensitive” names be found for towns such as
Motherwell, Blackburn, Fort William, Helensburgh, Peterhead and the
Isle of Lewis.
In Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat would be renamed because its ancient name contained sexual undertones.
send-up was believed by so many readers that The Scotsman felt obliged
to carry an explanatory news story the following day. It read: “Many
readers of The Scotsman will have spotted the April Fool’s story in
“The report on page 17 that EU bureaucrats
were forcing the Executive to change Scottish place names that offend
or discriminate on the grounds of race and gender was a spoof.
Excellent typo on page 21 of this week’s Press Gazette,” writes Dog
fan Tim Gander – a little too gleefully, we thought. “We read that Ben
Ramm is following in the footsteps of Bryon and Shelley.
“Unless Bryon is a lesser known contemporary of Byron, in which case I stand corrected …”
Canterbury Adscene prints a dummy run
Canterbury Adscene carried a front page splash about Marks &
Spencer bosses being forced to remove shop window dummies from their
city centre store after last Saturday’s Doctor Who TV show.
The Trinity Mirror paper quoted store manager James Harvey saying:
“One mother complained on Easter Monday that the mannequins were
scaring the life out of her daughter.
“I thought it was a joke
but this week we have been inundated with other parents saying the same
thing. I know it’s ridiculous, but as so many parents are shopping with
their children because of the school holidays, I decided it was best to
take all the dummies out of the store.”
Mum Linda Hoackes, 38,
was quoted as saying: “My daughter Avril was crying and screaming. She
was convinced the dummies were watching her and were going to come to
“She watched Doctor Who on Saturday night with the family
and didn’t seem too frightened. In fact, we all enjoyed it. But on
Monday she just flipped.”
Last Saturday 10.5 million viewers saw
new Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston and his sidekick Billie Piper
fight off attacks from the deadly Autons – plastic mannequins which
came to life and attacked humans.
There were, however, a couple of clues revealing this story might not be all it was cracked up to be.
it carried a genuine picture of Marks & Spencer food manager Chris
Williamson removing one of the offending dummies, an M&S spokesman
added: “I am told the dummies will all be back by noon on Friday (1
And the schoolgirl’s name, Avril Hoackes (April Hoax?), might have been a clue!
of the World feature writer Gemma Calvert and showbiz reporter Sonny
Soper eating fish and chips at the NoW Newspaper of the Year party last
Presumably they had already enjoyed Roy Greenslade’s informative Hall of Shame article in The Guardian…
The joke drags on
of the Travel Trade Gazette 1 April edition were treated to the Little
Britain treatment in a spoof version of the title’s regular “Day In The
Life” feature. Two reporters dressed up in drag to play “Valerie” and “Emily”, who worked at Queens Travel in Ladyford.