Attention all news websites: your April Fools' stories are almost never funny. 99% of your readers see them coming miles away, and the 1% not in on the jokes won't appreciate being hoodwinked once someone clues them in. And if you don't think this is a widespread problem, think again.
Just take a look at this gem. Smile Politely's audience may know what's up, but is there any actual value to this article? Sure, it may be good for a chuckle, but as a friend pointed out to me this morning, Boardman's has been struggling financially. Does it not seem in poor taste to post a fictional story about a beloved theater closing when that's not too far from the truth? In the time it took to produce this obnoxious article, the writer could have easily informed the reader of how Boardman's is actually faring.
(I also don't appreciate how every legitimate article needs to let us know that the writer is telling the truth. Perhaps this insidious pseudo-holiday is actually damaging the public trust.)
Luckily, we only have to deal with this problem for a day, but I'm sick of dreading April 1 every year. When I want my fake news, I consult The Onion or The Colbert Report. Actual journalists, leave the comedy to the professionals and get back to work.