By: Joe Strupp
The Vail (Colo.) Daily has been known in the past for printing some fake stories in the paper every April 1. But this year, the 10,000 circulation paper went a step further, publishing an eight-page wrap of phony stories around its regular edition, and placing even more made-up reports on its Web site.
“It is the first time we did an April Fool’s wrap,” said Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick. “We have had the first few pages with joke stories in the past, but this year we did a little extra work.”
The false section, titled the “Stale Daily,” was more than an elaborate prank. It was also a money-maker, boasting numerous advertisements, including two full-pagers inside.
“This year the ad people got excited and we sold eight pages that could wrap the print edition,” Zalaznick said. “The ad people thought they could sell it.”
They apparently succeeded with ads from the likes of the Vail Film Festival and a local medical office. One advertiser, Mountain Communications, even declared “This is No April Fool’s Joke,” in its promotion for a phone special.
The wrap offered a lead headline proclaiming: “Vail Realtors selling parallel universes.” Other ersatz stories ranged from “Snowboarders eaten by dinosaur” to “Cockfighting ring replaces stadium.”
There was even a front-page correction that read: “A $2,000-a-plate fundraiser for Barack Obama held Saturday in Cordillera was not accompanied by a ‘rainbow of pure golden light over the mountain’ as was originally reported.”
“Each of those is a fake story and a fake byline,” Zalaznick said. “I wrote two stories, a sports reporter wrote a couple and it was the kind of thing where we asked for volunteers. We wouldn?t make anyone do it.”
Each fake web story, which ran on the same home page as the regular stories, contained a label with the headline stating: “April Fool’s.” They can be found at www.vaildaily.com.
The April Fool’s wrap can be found at:
http://vaildaily.co.newsmemory.com/ by clicking on the “Stale Daily” tab.
Among the stories was the false Web report about County Commissioner “Argh Spumoni” running for Dalai Lama. Zalaznick said the story drew an e-mail response from actual County Commissioner Arn Menconi, who is running for mayor of nearby Eagle, Colo.
“Funny April Fools,” the note stated. “You must still be gettin’ some of that mad ‘sticky ecky’ in the mail to write the way you do.”
Zalaznick said few other e-mails had come in as of Tuesday morning, but added, “People seem to like our April Fool’s stories; usually someone gets furious.”