Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All the News That's Fit to Print

The nation's chief paper of record has already responded to the alternate reality spoof of its pages, which was described as follows in an e-mail today:

Early this morning, commuters nationwide were delighted to find out that while they were sleeping, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had come to an end.

If, that is, they happened to read a "special edition" of today's New York Times.

In an elaborate operation six months in the planning, 1.2 million papers were printed at six different presses and driven to prearranged pickup locations, where thousands of volunteers stood ready to pass them out on the street.

Articles in the paper announce dozens of new initiatives including the establishment of national health care, the abolition of corporate lobbying, a maximum wage for C.E.O.s, and, of course, the end of the war.

The paper, an exact replica of The New York Times, includes International, National, New York, and Business sections, as well as editorials, corrections, and a number of advertisements, including a recall notice for all cars that run on gasoline. There is also a timeline describing the gains brought about by eight months of progressive support and pressure, culminating in President Obama's "Yes we REALLY can" speech. (The paper is post-dated July 4, 2009.)

The beginning of a subsequent e-mail reads:

Hundreds of independent writers, artists, and activists are claiming credit for an elaborate project, 6 months in the making, in which 1.2 million copies of a "special edition" of the New York Times were distributed in cities across the U.S. by thousands of volunteers.

Since I was teaching a unit on tactical media today, it was a particularly appropriate illustrative example. Ironically, Virtualpolitik pal David Folkenflik has also been reporting about how the former head of the NYTimes online, who turned it into a top news website, will be taking over the reins of NPR.

(Thanks to Vivian Folkenflik for the link.)

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