MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- April Fools’ Day doesn’t always translate to funny when it involves the news media.
Monday’s edition of the Kansas State Collegian, the university’s student newspaper, included fake stories and some of the articles are getting mixed reactions.
A section of the newspaper was dedicated to April Fools’ Day and each fake article was with a disclaimer that read: “Editor’s note: This is a fake article. All facts and quotes are entirely fabricated. Happy April Fools’ Day!”
Titles of the April Fools’ stories included: “Bill Snyder announces retirement, K-State fans, students shocked by news;” “Collegian editor ‘creates’ news stories;” and “Willie the Wildcat spotted wearing the cone of shame, rumors abound” showing an illustration of the university’s mascot wearing a plastic "lamp shade" looking collar.
Another article claimed that Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students, is actually an undercover spy for the University of Kansas and that he was having his car custom painted a “Jayhawk crimson and blue.”
Managing editor Darrington Clark told WIBW: “The Collegian typically likes to do an April 1st edition. In the past, we’ve done full April Fools’ edition papers with absolutely nothing but fake articles and fabricated quotes inside but this year, we decided to report real news and have a little section dedicated to April Fools’.”
Some readers caught the intended humor in the fake articles, Clark said. Posts to the paper’s forum read:
“To the writer of that fake article about Bill Snyder. Don’t you ever try to scare us like that again!”
“Actually loved the Collegian today…They should stick to writing strictly fake articles.”
“A lot of people said that they really enjoyed it and that it was a fun thing, that this was one of their favorite editions,” Clark said during an interview in the Collegian’s newsroom Tuesday.
Other readers thought the writers might have gone too far. An article titled “K-State to receive, embrace huge influx of African-American students” is garnering feedback.
The fabricated article talked about the changes a “half-black” student body would bring to K-State, including proposals to add a barbershop and Popeye’s Chicken on campus. A fake quote referred to the campus as “too whitebread.”
One reader who asked to remain anonymous sent 13 News a complaint, calling the article racist. “This is ridiculous and requires some attention. They have been warned prior to Monday to not run racist joke stories,” the anonymous reader claimed.
“The article that I wrote was specifically supposed to be satire, kind of a little bit about African American culture that’s here at K-State and I’ve gotten some of the most passionate responses about that one from people who thought it was real to people who didn’t think it was very funny and so we’ve been having a conversation with them to make sure that they know that we had no ill intent,” Clark, an African American student, said. “It was written from a satirical standpoint and it was supposed to be parody of some of the culture that I’ve experienced since I’ve been here at K-State and I was really trying to make fun of how we view each other.”
Clark said the paper plans to continue its April Fools’ Day section in the future.
“Every year, we try to learn and get better so now that we’ve taken into account how this year went, we’ll probably try to tailor it to make sure that people are absolutely sure that April Fools’ edition and that it’s something they can expect and hopefully enjoy,” he added.