Monthly Archives: March 2008

The Annual Spoof Warning

It is the season for the annual warning to newsrooms.

Here’s a note I sent to reporters and editors:

Crain’s fell for a spoof.

The LA Times fell for a
scam
.

The silly season is upon us. Many publications will be
running corrections on April 3 for items they fail to see as pranks on April 1.
Don’t let that happen to you – or to your readers.

One editor reminded me about a 1998 prank announcement that fooled the FT:

Guinness brewery issued a press release announcing that it had reached
an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be
the official beer sponsor of the Observatory’s millennium celebration.

According to this agreement, Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed
Guinness Mean Time until the end of 1999. In addition, the famous
observatory would refer to seconds as "pint drips."

The Financial Times,
not realizing that the release was a joke, broke the news in an article
in which it discussed how some companies were exploiting the millennium
excitement in order to promote their own brand names.

There are sure to be more examples this year. Have you seen any? Comment below.

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