The True or False Edition

Guerilla Campaign — 2006

The Metro True or False Edition — April 6th 2006

The Metro True or False Edition is a fake fake news edition that was spread amongst its readers on April 6th 2006. The special edition was created by taking 2.500 Dutch Metro newspapers from their distribution boxes, adding a sticker on the cover of each newspaper, and then putting the newspapers back in their original boxes. The sticker tells the reader that this edition contains three false articles that are made up by Metro’s editors. Any reader who spots the fake articles can email the headlines to the editors and win an iPod Nano.

Fake news headquarters

One of 2.500 stickers

Metro’s response – April 7th 2006

Because Metro is a free newspaper their income is completely based on selling advertisements. Is this a bad thing? Maybe not per sé, but it sure is a dangerous business model. As corporations are the only clients who can withdraw their support, Metro makes sure that their needs are met first. It is clear — at least to anyone who cares about good journalism — that since Metro’s launch in 1999, most of its energy is put in the advertisement part, not in their journalism. Metro goes all out with special ad covers, advertorials, branded content, special offers through apps, all the while their journalism is reduced to a byproduct. Metro even likes to boast about the fact that their newspaper has the biggest amount of readers and the smallest amount of editors (eleven people on the editorial team, fourteen people on sales)1. This might be a great achievement when your aim is to be the most efficient paper, but it sure doesn’t help their journalism.

I’m sure that Metro’s team is proud of the fact that, due to their free news model, many (young) people are now reading a newspaper, but what these people are actually reading is a bundle of advertisements mixed with a handful of articles that are short enough to be digested in a train ride’s time. That’s not a newspaper, that’s a fake newspaper.

Metro - The True or False Edition
by Yuri Veerman

Newspaper and sticker
Edition of 2500

Thanks: Bram, Joost, Kris, Merel, Steven, Sven, Taniya, Yorik

1. NRC - Metro gelooft in artikelen betaald door adverteerders.