Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool's!!!!!!!!!!

Ok ok ok ok .......... you got me. I'm coming clean.

The aquarium and Shamu story was totally, completely, entirely fabricated. I wrote it while sitting in a livetruck outside of Progressive Field yesterday. I've always told people that if you put a simple news headline and a color photo together, people will believe just about anything. Seems some folks did.

I've received quite a few emails from readers who knew right away that there was no way we were getting a "Disney-style" hotel room .. let alone the rest of it. The saw it as a joke pretty fast.
Still, one PR guy in town says that a reporter called thinking it was a hoax but 'they had to be sure.'

I thought I put enough landmines in there that folks would see through it as a joke by the time they reached the second half of the story. Sorry if I gave a heart attack to anyone at the Akron Zoo or Acme.

For those who enjoyed it, thanks for reading. For those who were fooled, what can I say?

A few years ago, the Sun Newspaper put out an April Fool's story about a restaurant being hoisted up on a tower and then revolving (can anyone say Rex Humbard?) and a local TV station, not us, ran the story verbatim from the paper. Whoops!

I also remember when I was working as a part-time news reporter at WHIO-TV in Dayton (my college days) that a story crossed the wires on April 1st claiming that CBS had fired sports anchor Brent Mussberger. Considering WHIO is a CBS affiliate, our newsroom was convinced the wires (still rip-and-read paper in those days) must be joking for April Fool's Day. Turns out it was true.

A friend of mine told me today that it's "dicey" when the media plays games with fake stories .. because we often have enough trouble with credibility. It's a good point. Although in this case, Have I Got News For You is a personal blog .. so I'm able to have some fun.

Just know this .. if the story were true ... do you really think I'd let the cat out of the bag in the morning for my competitors to see instead of breaking it on the evening news? Now THAT would make ME the fool :)

Thanks for playing along .. Eric

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