I’m not the biggest fan of April Fools Day. It’s a day where brands and companies try way too hard to prank consumers. And let’s be honest — it’s rarely funny.
Some of this year’s worst examples include:
However, there’s a difference between harmless and lame April Fools pranks completed by companies and those done by news organizations. It’s frustrating for me as the reader to decipher which headlines and real and which ones are fake. In a week like this one where I haven’t had time to read the news as much as I like to, it’s annoying to glance at a paper’s headlines and not be able to tell what particular stories are worth believing.
For instance, University of Virginia’s The Cavalier Daily published an article on the front page about ABC agents targeting Native American Students as an April Fools joke. This comes right after the actual incident between alcohol officers and UVA student Martese Johnson. Without knowing it’s an April Fools Joke, I’d be inclined to believe it.
Here at UNC, The Daily Tar Heel ran a story on the front page titled “UNC.porn.” The story says that UNC is buying two porn domains in order to protect its brand. The article even has quotes from a professor in the Journalism school who teachers a “Branding of Me” course. But because the article was published on April Fools Day, there’s not a strong reason to believe its true.
So the April Fools thing goes both ways: In the UVA example, the newspaper published a too-real fake story under the impression it would be taken as a joke. I’m still trying to figure out if the DTH article is real or not. It sounds wacky. But it’s just believable enough to buy that it’s happening.
And thus my dislike for the first day of April.