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The Observer plays dirty for April Fools’ Day

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  • | 5:30 a.m. April 1, 2024
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It was a dirty trick. But we played it anyway. Our annual April Fools’ Day edition was published on March 28, in accordance with our usual Observer publication schedule. We just couldn’t wait, and we just couldn’t resist.

So on Thursday, March 28, even though the front page of the paper was dated Sunday, April 1, we let our writers play fast and loose with the news — at least in the front section of the paper before we told you on Page 4A: GOTCHA! But we promise it was all just a joke, admittedly a tricky one, and we won’t do it again — for at least a year.

We’ve been doing this for years. Decades even. Although it often might seem like the work of addled college kids who took a break from term papers and university-grade algebra, there really is method to our madness.

New ideas begin not long after the last April Fools' Day edition goes to press. In many cases, real life just can’t top our own imaginations. So we often head there first, relying on coffee-stained Post-it notes stuck to the December page of a desk calendar to be transferred to the next year’s calendar when our office manager comes around with them right before Christmas.

By late February or early March, at least one meeting will have already taken place, weeding out ideas whose shelf life didn’t last, trying to generate new ones or bank-shot old premises off new events or news stories.

Then our page designers join the act with novel ideas to make original artwork, use existing artwork or create something entirely new.

Once we settle on a package for each edition, off we go.

Read this year's April Fools' Day stories:


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