News media put out only real and verified news on April 1, public ‘fooled’
April 1 was a rather dull day on various news channels and websites, as the media outlets marked the day by publishing only those stories that were fact-checked. Inspired by the tradition of some media in the West, which publish outrageous satire stories on April 1, news media in India decided they too could cash in on a pointless theme.
Sources tell us that even after multiple edit meetings led by social media strategists, content marketers, and sales managers, no media house could come up with any story that would be different from any other day’s normal stories. That’s when they decided to publish only real and verified stories, told in a matter-of-fact tone, to boot.
When the stories came out in the morning, viewers and readers could not discern that these stories were real. While some of them expected fake stories for April 1, others were accustomed to everyday stories based merely on rumors, with made up quotes and statistics.
As the day progressed, news websites ran out of real stories, since they hardly ever employed reporters. Sources inside popular websites like scoop-poop and story-sick said, their content team whose core skill was writing click-baiting headlines struggled to write a simple factual one. Hence, asked to take the day off, and utilize the time find inspirations for writing 69 shocking and unbelievable headlines when things would return to normal the next day.
The strategy of publishing only true stories without drama did not work as expected for the publishers. People simply did not click on the few factual headlines that the websites did manage, leading to fewer pageviews. As it turns out, any headline without at least one of the following words and phrases got less than 10% of the normal average pageviews: shocking, disgusting, ‘you won’t believe what happened next’, ‘leave you in tears’, cleavage, ‘change the way you think’.
Similarly, TV channels reported that their news coverage received only a similar fraction of the normal TRP when news was broadcast without the following: animation of flames on screen, oversized tickers, shouting anchors, 5 second footage in loop for 1 minute, and pointless debates.
Thankfully, this misguided attempt at real news lasted only one day, and TRP and pageviews were back to normal next day, because, ‘You literally will believe anything now’.