UK news site the Brighton and Hove News published a prank story for April Fool’s Day, claiming that a local railway would re-open for the first time since 1971.
One hint the April 1 story was a joke? It claimed “Local celebrities Simon Fanshawe and Katie Price are rumoured to have been signed up as guards for the first journey. Although both are likely just to sell KitKats and hot drinks.” The article also claimed that the supermarket Sainsbury’s would be demolished for the re-opening.
But, despite the prank, another newspaper, The Argus, was duped and reported on the story as real, UK media site Hold the Front Page reported. The Argus‘s story was headlined, “Sainsbury’s to be bulldozed as Kemp Town rail line to reopen,” according to a screenshot of the article on the Brighton and Hove News website.
The Argus later deleted its story based on the prank story; a link to the story now goes to an error page.
iMediaEthics found a Google cache of the article, which shows it was written by Amir Razavi. The article didn’t attribute any information to Brighton and Hove News, indicating that The Argus not only didn’t fact check when it fell for the prank, it also failed to give credit for the story.
iMediaEthics has written to the Argus.