Park Animals broke into a spontaneous celebration yesterday, after the Insect Intelligencer declared the Human species to be extinct.
In a bold headline splashed across its front page, the Intelligencer announced, “Human species extinct scientific body confirms.”
The headline and related story turned out to be a hoax perpetrated on the paper and The Park by two of the daily’s reporters. In a statement on the paper’s web site, editor-in-chief Fannia di Volo apologized to the public for the distasteful prank and assured Park residents that the two reporters, whose names have not been released for security reasons, have been dismissed. The article was published without bylines.
“Their actions will be dealt with in the near future,” the statement concluded.
Within a few hours, all copies of the paper had been pulled from Park stores and di Volo had contacted all subscribers and media outlets to advise them of the situation.
Di Volo confirmed later in the day that a “full-scale” internal investigation of the incident had been launched. Some related associations and agencies, including the Centre for the Study of Newspaper Activity in The Park (C-SNAP), and the Association of Non-Mammalian Park Newspapers (ANMPN) have begun their own investigations.
Nathan R. DiPressa, Editor-in-Chief of The Reptile Register and Executive Director of the ANMPN said he was distressed by the incident, calling it “vile” and a threat to all Park newspapers.
“Our credibility is at stake here,” he said. “This is a very serious breach of protocol and ethics.”
One of The Park’s oldest newspapers, The Insect Intelligencer was once considered one of our most authoritative and upstanding dailies. But, plagued by problems and scandals over the past few years, the paper has changed course several times and some say it appears to have lost its footing. Two years ago, it ceased publication temporarily due to a scandal and the arrest of five of its reporters. The scandal and the subsequent suspension of its popular Fly on the Wall feature resulted in a marked decrease in the paper’s readership. As of yesterday, there were no plans to alter the format or mission of the paper.