April Fool, we think: News from the Twits abroad

puckcoverBritish newspapers have this thing called a sense of humor, a quality generally unknown to the American Daily Blat, which is a fine if sorely troubled institution but not one generally known for its wit. So when special days roll around — and what day is more special than April Fool’s Day? — it’s good to look east across the puddle for a well-pulled prank.

Today the Guardian announced that, after 188 years as a printed publication, it is changing to an all-Twitter format. Any story can be told in 140 characters, its editors observe, in a story that takes up considerably more words than that. Read it here.

“Sceptics have expressed concerns that 140 characters may be insufficient to capture the full breadth of meaningful human activity,” the Guardian newsprint story reports, “but social media experts say the spread of Twitter encourages brevity, and that it ought to be possible to convey the gist of any message in a tweet.

“For example, Martin Luther King’s legendary 1963 speech on the steps of the Lincoln memorial appears in the Guardian’s Twitterised archive as ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by’, eliminating the waffle and bluster of the original.”

You’ll want to read the whole festive fraud yourself, but I can’t resist excerpting some of the Guardian’s rewritten stories from its morgue (that’s an old news hacks’ term for library; unfortunately, these days in the journalism business it has other resonances as well):

OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring day
otherwise *sigh*

“JFK assassin8d @ Dallas, def. heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF?”

Berlin Wall falls! Majority view of Twitterers = it’s a historic moment! What do you think??? Have your say