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  • When April Fools’ Day goes wrong

    Business Insider | BuzzFeed | Digiday

    When April Fools’ jokes fall flat, they can really fall flat. Just ask the editors of The Cavalier Daily, the student newspaper of the University of Virginia. Business Insider writer Peter Jacobs reports that for this year’s April Fools’ issue, the newspaper’s editors decided to run a phony story making light of the case of Martese Johnson, the African-American UVA student who was beaten and bloodied by agents of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control. In a piece titled “ABC agents tackle Native American student outside Bodo’s Bagels,” the paper pretends to report on a similar incident involving a different marginalized population and uses such fake names as “Strong Buffalo,” “Dances with Wolves,” and “Rabbit in the Grass.” After outraged students began complaining, the paper’s Managing Board pulled the piece offline and issued an apology. Read more

  • Jonathan Allen joins Vox as chief political correspondent


    Bloomberg D.C. bureau chief Jonathan Allen has joined the explainer-driven news site Vox as chief political correspondent, co-founder Ezra Klein tweeted Wednesday.

    Beyond excited that @jonallendc is joining @voxdotcom as our chief political correspondent!

    — Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) April 1, 2015

    Politico’s Dylan Byers, who was the first to report the news, wrote that Allen was leaving his post as D.C. bureau chief for Bloomberg because he felt “marginalized due to the launch of Bloomberg Politics.”

    Like many media organizations, Vox has been staffing up to cover the 2016 election. The outlet hired Politico’s Laura McGann as politics editor and plans to make several additions to its politics team.

    Read more
  • ‘That would be STUPID’: Some readers took an April Fools’ cat park story seriously

    This year, it just happened that April Fools’ fell on the day the Colorado Springs Independent comes out. Here’s the front page of the latest edition, devoted to the story of plans for the country’s first cat park.


    This morning, the Independent pushed the story out on social media.

    “We did not know if we were going to fool people or entertain people, but it looks like it’s mostly the latter,” said News Editor Robert Meyerowitz, who hasn’t gotten any calls yet.

    And the idea wasn’t that wacky, he said. Lately, cat cafes have opened in Colorado Springs and in other parts of the country, Meyerowitz said.

    There’s even an owl bar in London. Seriously.

    The story has clues that it’s a prank, including the last names of the sources, which mostly mean cat in other languages. Read more

Saundra Smokes

The Post-Standard


Herald American

"I see through the eyes of a Christian, an African-American, a woman, a journalist, an aunt, a daughter. Someone who feels at ease with all kinds of people. I try to bring that varied perspective to my columns," says Saundra Smokes.

"Sandy," as she is known to friends and colleagues, became the first person of color in the history of the Syracuse Newspapers to sit on the Herald-Journal's editorial board in 1985. She also is the first person of color to write a full-time opinion column for the newspapers.

She has won numerous honors and awards as her career climbed from reporter to local columnist, to the editorial board, to syndicated columnist, and then back to The Post Standard as an editorial writer, copy editor, and editorial board member.

Upon her return to the editorial board in 2003, she initiated the series, "Taxpayers Held Hostage," which won a first place community service award from the New York State Publishers Association. Sandy also received awards for commentary (editorials and columns) in 1993 and 1994 from the Associated Press.

A Syracuse native, Sandy started writing while in elementary school and continued with soap operas about her middle-school classmates. After graduation, she attended the University of Buffalo. In 1978, she joined the Herald-Journal as a "copy kid," an employee who does all sorts of odd jobs in the newsroom. Soon, however, she began writing feature stories. She was promoted to reporter covering city and county news, and later, she became a copy editor.

In November 1992, a column on the outcome of the first trial of Los Angeles police officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King, was picked up by newspapers nationwide. The following year, Sandy began writing a regular opinion column for the Syracuse Newspapers.

Seven months after she began writing the local column, United Features Syndicate selected Sandy to write a column they would syndicate across the United States. Twenty-two newspapers picked up her work each week for eight years. In 2003, she returned to The Post-Standard to write editorials and work on the copy desk.

Her awards include the 1998 Urban League Harriet Tubman Award, the Ann Felton Memorial Award and Community Service Award from the Syracuse Chapter of the NAACP, Citizen of the Year from Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Syracuse University, the Great Leader Award from the Onondaga County Political Women?s Caucus, the Marjorie Dowdell Fortitude Award from Delta Sigma Theta fraternity at SU, and the Pit Bull Award from the Greater Syracuse Communications Group. She also received the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Stands Award.

Sandy also writes plays, including "A Tribute to Motown" and "In Our Own Backyard," and a video drama, "Daddy's Home," which won a Cable Ace award. --Joseph A. Porcello



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 August 2012 20:44 )
"Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of [achieving] a free society."
Felix Frankfurter, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court

Wall of Distinction

Jack Morse




It was back in his native Whitney Point when he was a sophomore in high school that the broadcasting bug bit Jack Morse. Jack recalls that he was asked to go on a station in nearby Binghamton to promote the Sophomore Ball. He can still tell you just what he said.
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