It’s April Fools’ Day and people across the globe are making pranks in every way possible. Newsy.com is taking a look at how the media are covering, creating and, in some cases, getting fooled by the hoaxes.

CNN.com traces back the tradition of media outlets making pranks on April Fools’ Day, and reports on what is believed to be the “biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.”

It reports the BBC broadcast the story of a spaghetti crop in Switzerland in 1957. CNN elaborated the spoof and its success:

“The segment was accompanied by pictures of farmers pulling strands of spaghetti from trees -- and prompted hundreds of viewers to call in, wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.” (CNN)

UK’s The Guardian keeps up with the new media trend and releases an announcement it’s switching to a Twitter-only publication after 188 years of ink. The paper also has a section of highlights from its Twitterised news archive:

“1940 - W Churchill giving speech NOW - "we shall fight on the beaches ... we shall never surrender" check YouTube later for the rest

1961 - Listening 2 new band "The Beatles"

1989 - Berlin Wall falls! Majority view of Twitterers = it's a historic moment! What do you think??? Have your say”
(The Guardian)

For some media outlets, gullibility could be nothing more than a bit of embarrassment. Global Voices Online reports a 2002 hoax from Google just got picked up and reported by a prominent Syrian newspaper recently:

“Al Watan, has taken the bait and reported on Google's TSIP service, WiFi through toilets, as an actual service.” (Global Voices Online)

Tech website CNET.com looks at a well-orchestrated prank from search giant Google that came in the form of advanced artificial-intelligence services.

The CNET article highlights some of the features:

• Gmail Autopilot, which answers your e-mail for you.
• Chrome updated for use with red-and-blue 3D glasses
• A Picasa Web Albums feature to add red-eye to your photos.
(CNET.com)

The jokes also spread to other industries. In the Travel section, UK’s Times Online selects this year’s top 10 April Fools stories, including “The hotelicopter”, calling it “a well-designed website which promoted a new airborne hotel concept.” (Times Online)

Finally, Fast Company website takes a cautious look for brands and companies that jumped into the April Fools’ bandwagon. The magazine says the pranks could backfire on some types of businesses like banks and automakers, quoting a business expert:

“Imagine if General Motors or Ford pulled an April Fools' Day prank. You probably wouldn't laugh. You'd be too busy wondering why they were joking around instead of making better cars.” (Fast Company)

So have you got hoaxed on April Fools’ Day this year? What was the best prank you’ve ever seen?

Please share your experiences and check out the links to our sources.

I’m Charlotte Bellis for Newsy.com.

April Fools' and the Media

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Apr 1, 2009

April Fools' and the Media

It’s April Fools’ Day and people across the globe are making pranks in every way possible. Newsy.com is taking a look at how the media are covering, creating and, in some cases, getting fooled by the hoaxes.

CNN.com traces back the tradition of media outlets making pranks on April Fools’ Day, and reports on what is believed to be the “biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.”

It reports the BBC broadcast the story of a spaghetti crop in Switzerland in 1957. CNN elaborated the spoof and its success:

“The segment was accompanied by pictures of farmers pulling strands of spaghetti from trees -- and prompted hundreds of viewers to call in, wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.” (CNN)

UK’s The Guardian keeps up with the new media trend and releases an announcement it’s switching to a Twitter-only publication after 188 years of ink. The paper also has a section of highlights from its Twitterised news archive:

“1940 - W Churchill giving speech NOW - "we shall fight on the beaches ... we shall never surrender" check YouTube later for the rest

1961 - Listening 2 new band "The Beatles"

1989 - Berlin Wall falls! Majority view of Twitterers = it's a historic moment! What do you think??? Have your say”
(The Guardian)

For some media outlets, gullibility could be nothing more than a bit of embarrassment. Global Voices Online reports a 2002 hoax from Google just got picked up and reported by a prominent Syrian newspaper recently:

“Al Watan, has taken the bait and reported on Google's TSIP service, WiFi through toilets, as an actual service.” (Global Voices Online)

Tech website CNET.com looks at a well-orchestrated prank from search giant Google that came in the form of advanced artificial-intelligence services.

The CNET article highlights some of the features:

• Gmail Autopilot, which answers your e-mail for you.
• Chrome updated for use with red-and-blue 3D glasses
• A Picasa Web Albums feature to add red-eye to your photos.
(CNET.com)

The jokes also spread to other industries. In the Travel section, UK’s Times Online selects this year’s top 10 April Fools stories, including “The hotelicopter”, calling it “a well-designed website which promoted a new airborne hotel concept.” (Times Online)

Finally, Fast Company website takes a cautious look for brands and companies that jumped into the April Fools’ bandwagon. The magazine says the pranks could backfire on some types of businesses like banks and automakers, quoting a business expert:

“Imagine if General Motors or Ford pulled an April Fools' Day prank. You probably wouldn't laugh. You'd be too busy wondering why they were joking around instead of making better cars.” (Fast Company)

So have you got hoaxed on April Fools’ Day this year? What was the best prank you’ve ever seen?

Please share your experiences and check out the links to our sources.

I’m Charlotte Bellis for Newsy.com.
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