CNW’s April Fools’ Day Policy

It's always funny until the journalist doesn't get the joke...and that’s why we don’t advise our clients to run fake news releases on April Fools’ Day. Here’s the longer rationale:

1. CNW isn’t very funny (and that’s a good thing)

CNW has a 55-year history of being a credible source of newsworthy content to news media. They trust that what we’re sending them is the official company record supplied by individuals verified to do so. Depending on the nature of your business and the subtlety of your hoax, if it comes from us, some hard working journalist could be fooled into covering it as truth. That journalists’ credibility will take a hit – and so will yours. (None of us wants this.)

2. Lots of other brands aren’t funny either (and that’s ok too)

We know that some brands are notorious for their cheekiness. We understand that this is their brand essence and that the journalists who cover them are usually already in the know about April Fools’ Day hijinks and look forward to the fun. And honestly, they can be pretty funny.

But other brands, such as those typically more serious or perhaps lesser known, or those whose offering is complex at the best of times, or those who lack strong relationships with journalists – well those brands might just pull off the hoax. (None of us wants this.)

3. The Internet is forever, not just April 1

Plus, news releases issued by CNW are saved on our website in a 180 day searchable archive and are pushed out through RSS and CNW News widgets and are invariably shared through social media. This means they can be discovered in future (on any given date) by anyone searching online – even a potential customer who doesn’t know anything about your corporate culture. 

April Fools’ Day at CNW

To satisfy client demands to enjoy April Fools’ Day and to protect journalistic integrity, CNW settled on a compromise: CNW will accept and issue joke news releases on April 1, but each must include a warning at the beginning of the headline, as follows:


English — April 1 Alert: [news release headline]

French — Alerte - 1er avril: [news release headline]


This language gives fair warning to serious journalists but also flags jokes for those who may be assigned to covering the day’s hilarity. The placement also ensures that anyone scanning headlines on newsroom editorial feeds won’t waste time reviewing news they can’t use.

Please let our News Centre team know in advance if you are planning to issue a joke release on April Fools’ Day. And have fun.

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