U.S. National - AP
April Fools' Editions Sink College Papers
Wed Apr 7, 1:49 PM ET
By DAN NEPHIN, Associated Press Writer
PITTSBURGH - Being funny without being offensive is tough to do, which is why three college newspapers that published April Fools' Day editions — those at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Scranton and the University of Nebraska at Omaha — are in trouble.
Carnegie Mellon's paper, The Tartan, voluntarily shut down for the rest of the semester after publishing a racially charged cartoon in its 12-page spoof edition. The cartoonist lost his job, and the editor in chief — who blamed fatigue for clouding editors' judgment — is taking a leave of absence from the Pittsburgh university until fall.
University of Scranton officials in Pennsylvania closed The Aquinas for parodying Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," college administrators and Georgetown University, a fellow Jesuit institution.
The Gateway, the Nebraska paper, apologized for its four-page edition titled The Ghettoway. One story, with the headline "Gateway cameras stolen during weekend," was written by Ono Udidn. Another fake byline: Mindjo Bidness. The news editor, who is black, told The Gateway for a story Tuesday that she thought the content was representative of pop culture in general.
This one brings back some memories.. when editor of my college paper, The Carolina Journal, c. 1970s, I put out a pretty wild and crazy April Fool's edition, intended for the students to take to the beach and on Spring Break, and have some laughs.. unfortunately, some took it "home," and parents didn't like the sexual and political "humor," from my early "Dennis Miller" period.. I even got a slam-bast editorial against me on the local TV station; which I went on the air to rebutt; oh wish I had a copy of that videotape today.. anyway, I was duely bashed and smacked around, but no serious damage done.. in my defense, I claimed satire was an honorable enterprise, and pointed to the greats of the past.. it helped a bit.. one of my headlines that will live on in infamy was "Name_here hangs self," and in the article, I described hanging a portrait of me in a bathroom stall, to commemorate something or other (the college was doing this all the time then)...