Journalists should know by now that April Fool's items are not funny, but every year plenty go ahead with them anyway, and this year at least two lost jobs because of it. The Bakersfield Californian confirmed to The Atlantic Wire on Tuesday that freelance fishing writer Steve Merlo, who we mentioned in Monday's Sports Set, had been fired because of a joke column he filed about local wildlife managers importing a made-up species of 50-pound trout from India. Merlo had neglected to tell his editors that the item was a joke, and his editors had neglected to check it.
Also on Tuesday, Chelsea Diana, the editor of Boston University's student newspaper The Daily Free Press, resigned over a much more offensive "joke" story that ran on Monday. The AP describes it: "Monday's print-only edition led with 'seven frat dwarves' arrested for drugging and sexually assaulting a female student, 'the fairest of them all,' and a picture of Snow White's drink and a date-rape drug." This just a week after that Belvedere vodka ad that some felt looked like a rape in progress infuriated everybody who saw it and led to a lawsuit from the model. (Rape jokes aren't funny, people, even on April Fool's Day.)