Central Virginia’s largest daily newspaper has a message for its readers: April Fools.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch said it played a joke on readers in preparation for the international gag-lover’s holiday when it published Saturday’s front page entirely with large photos, eye-catching captions and page numbers where people could look to get more information on the story. No article text was included, making the front page reminiscent of the National Enquirer or New York Post.
Front pages since have returned back to traditional article-based articles that include words, sentences and, in many cases, punctuation.
With an A1 headline about a diamond embezzler written in a font size typically reserved for the beginning of U.S.-led wars, the March 22 front on the T-D was “all a joke” in anticipation for April 1, newspaper spokesman Harold Peacock said.
“Gotcha!” Peacock said, pointing a finger at assembled reporters during a press conference. “We got a lot of people with that little trick, but of course, had we been serious about that, it surely would have been one of the lower points in this paper’s otherwise respected 150-year history.”
Henrico County resident Mary Jane Higgins said she was shocked to see the prank newspaper when she picked it up off her driveway. The 65-year-old considered writing a letter to the editor expressing her frustration – until she realized what she thought was a joke was, indeed, a joke.
“To hear them say they were just clowning around, that’s very funny,” Higgins said, noting the humorous page looked like a tabloid typically found on a grocery-store checkout counter. “I mean, had they done that on purpose, it surely would have been insulting to everyone’s intelligence.”