It is that time of year again…
April Fools’ Day is one “holiday” student journalists should refrain from covering. At least in the sense of running a story, or whole edition, to fool their readers. There are so many complaints about fake news, so why would student media programs choose to add fuel to that fire by intentionally creating fake news? Yet, many programs find such stories and editions acceptable.
There is a laundry list of reasons why April Fools’ Day editions are a bad idea, but sitting at (or very near) the top is the damage they can cause to a publication’s credibility. Not to mention, there is little journalistic value, and such stories or editions would more than likely go against the editorial policies set forth by any staff. As advisers, it is our job to educate our students on this topic, and I think once they truly understand the possible consequences, they won’t want to further pursue the matter.
If you aren’t yet familiar with the JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Committee, you should add it to your bookmark list. The website provides a wealth of information over almost any law or ethics topic you could imagine.
Here are a few of my favorite articles about April Fools’ Day content:
- The issues with April Fools coverage, John Bowen, JEASPRC
- The joke is on these college editors– offensive April Fool’s humor can backfire, badly, Frank LoMonte, SPLC
- Think carefully before publishing April Fools’ Day content, Megan Fromm, JEASPRC
- April Fools’ negatives outweigh positives, usually don’t fulfill techniques of satire, John Bowen, JEASPRC