So we created a newspaper…

I have this group of friends we call the Services crowd. Every Wednesday for the last 15 years, we’ve met at random pubs to shoot the breeze and buy each other beers. Our far-flung membership has grown to 50+ people, so each week a varying subset of folks shows up just to catch up.

As a regular, I began sending out an annual holiday story or poem to the group. These messages were littered with inside jokes and good-natured roasting of key personalities, especially those who’d skipped a session or three. Over time, the stories came more often, from multiple members. They were generally cribbed from headlines, with the names and circumstances changed to accommodate our membership. And they were funny.

Some common themes developed, as did some stock characters and doctored photos, until we eventually decided we had enough original material to start a newsletter. Which we did. We called it The Poundtown Gazette — another inside joke. It was patterned after The New York Times — only our motto was “News we made up.”

Now, a year later, our distribution is booming, even though our newest readers have no idea who or what we’re writing about. In short, we have created a monthly monster. Fake journalism takes you to weird places.