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Longboat Key Sunday, Apr. 4, 2021 2 weeks ago

April Fool's strikes again in the Observer

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Wacky sources, paper-thin premises, ludicrously misshapen story angles add up to our annual festival of foolishness.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

You’ve been had, dear reader.

Had by our traditional April Fool’s zaniness that tiptoes on a razor’s edge between "Mad" and "Newsweek." Funny, but almost believable.

No Toreador Crimson carpet for GMD.

We know you’re smart enough to get the joke — eventually. And in case you were preoccupied  and didn’t give reading your full attention, we always own up to it in “It’s War”-sized type on the fourth page, right before our regular news begins, with a traditional front page. Gotcha!

What’s our goal? Well…

“I have never heard my son laugh as hard as when he realized he had been ‘played,’” a Longboater wrote us last week. “Many thanks to you and your staff.”

We’re laughing right alongside you. (The managing editor turns to a co-worker, whispering, ‘They’re laughing, right?”)

We’ve been doing this for years. Decades even. Every spring, in the edition as close to April 1 as possible — what a treat 2021 is turning out to be, right? — we spin paper-thin premises with the help of such sources as a scientist named Hayes T. Conclusions, which we then flesh out with ludicrously misshapen story angles remotely connected to local happenings.

Meetings are held. More meetings are held. Ideas are spiked or remodeled. Rewrites are ordered. Photoshop is used.

So, no:

     Always, though, a schmeckle of truth shines through, as another reader wondered when he saw his hometown of Downers Grove, Illinois, appear in an April Fool’s story about an oh-so-pretentious artist and wondered if he had somehow missed a local celebrity. 

     Truth is, that story originally featured the town of Downers Grove, New Jersey. But a quick fact check spotted the little suburban village in the right state. 

     Fact-checking. 

     In a story totally made up. 

     That's us in a nutshell.

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