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Think before you speak, but read before you think

1538649_10203380077096139_1683105007_nA few weeks ago I wrote a “story.” I put the word story in parenthesis because it was an April Fool’s prank. Well, that’s not entirely true. I also wrote it as a bit of a social experiment that ended up giving me the result I intended. You see, we read all of the comments on our site, and I was convinced of something, so I wrote the “story” to see if what I thought based on those comments was right. To my dismay it was. People don’t read!

We’ve absolutely, without question, turned in to the Twitter generation. We want our news in 140 characters or less, and that saddens me. People read a headline and made a judgment or an assumption based on just that, a headline. There are so many problems with that.

Headlines are a few words carefully chosen to make people read on, but the problem is, very few are reading on. In my Lamar Dixon gets bought out by Ikea piece, I clearly stated it was an April Fool’s prank, but many didn’t bother to read on and find that information out.

The comments were unbelievable.

“How dare Lamar Dixon do this. Where will we hold graduations?”

“You have angered us horse folk, Lamar Dixon. I’ll never use your facility again.”

Well, it seems to me you didn’t read it all in the first place if that’s your point of view.

Then I got the personal attacks.

“Charlotte Guedry is despicable. I almost had a heart attack until I realized she was lying.”

“Damn you to hell, Mrs. Guedry. Damn you to hell.”

Ummmm….okay. There’s not much I can say about that other than it’s not really a place I’d like to visit, but really? Damn me to hell for pulling the same kind of pranks that newspapers have been pulling on one day specifically set aside for pranks? Seems a bit harsh to damn me, but it’s your right, just as it was mine to write what was obviously a joke

We’re lazy when it comes to gathering information. Perhaps the internet is to blame. I remember having to go to the library and actually spend hours there gathering research from a number of different resources just to write term papers, but that’s no longer the case. Now, with sites like Wikipedia, the work is as easy as a few clicks of a button. Essentially, the work isn’t our own and we’re not retaining the information. Simply cutting and pasting doesn’t leave an imprint in our minds. So, my question is when did we stop thinking for ourselves and rely on tiny bits of full stories to base our opinions upon?

Let’s look at headlines as a few examples; headlines I’ve seen today.

CNN has a headline that says “Pistorius prosecutor’s unusual move.” Well, when I actually read the entire article, it isn’t an unusual move at all. The man is going for a psychological evaluation. That seems pretty usual to me in a murder trial.

Fox News states that “South Korea says North Korea must disappear soon.” Well, that’s not what I got from reading the entire story. Basically, there’s no reliable source quoted as that being said, and it goes on about worries between the two Koreas. No one seems to have said anything about anything or anyone disappearing.

We write headlines to grab your attention, because we want you to read. And trust me; read you did, when we told you Lamar Dixon had been sold. But most of you only read that far. You have to read further. You have to read everything to garner your own opinions and see if the story is something that will ignite a fire within you. You never know, you may read an entire piece of something and find the passion in you to change the world.

We don’t write headlines, though, to simply expect you to read them and stop there. We put about 100+ hours a week in combined man power to write the stories we post. We don’t write them for us. Trust me, we have tons of other things we’d like to be doing, ie. spending time with our families and friends, or simply taking a well-deserved nap. But we do it for you. Every single day, at all hours, we do it for you. It’s a bit of a blow when you don’t seem to care.

So do us a favor, just one tiny favor. Read. It really is that simple, and you’d be surprised at what information we can give you that is factual and pertinent to your day to day lives.

A prank is a prank is a prank. It’s time to get over it and start reading again. We do a damn fine job, and you should all be paying attention to that!


  1. Renee Hymel says:

    My 84 year old dad used to say "I won't believe it until I hear or read it in the news". There was a time when "news" were actual facts that happened and were reported either by radio, newspaper or television…of course, now internet as well. The problem is that now it is hard to differentiate between news, opinion and gossip. One begins with a fact and elaborates so much with personal opinion and calls it news that you can get just as much from a coffee shop, Laundromat or bar. The actual facts are buried in so much stuff, they are hard to find.

  2. Todd Gaudin says:

    Good one Charlotte. Enjoyed it!

  3. very well said, Mr. Bobby Hoyt!

  4. Natalie Bourg Adams says:

    it wasn't irresponsible at all, it was exactly what you're using yourself, FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

  5. Natalie Bourg Adams says:

    why should she apologize? she wasn't the first or ONLY news person to pull an April Fools prank. the people of Ascension Parish were just ticked off b/c they thought their precious Lamar Dixon Expo Center was being sold off to Ikea…OMG get over it already!

  6. Natalie Bourg Adams says:

    I got a kick out! first b/c it was on April Fool's day so obviously I read the entire article right down to the 'April Fools!' and second b/c someone I know was almost in tears and that made my day LOL b/c she gets upset over the littlest thing. To me, Charlotte this was priceless and gave Gonzales and Ascension what it deserved! Too many people are quick to judge a book by its cover and an article by its headline!

  7. bobby hoyt says:

    ^^^ yep.

  8. Minnie Prettelt says:

    In my opinion, this was a very good example of very irresponsible journalism.


  10. Well, I have been waiting for either a clarification or an apology for your "news" story about IKEA Corp.'s purchase of the Lamar Dixon Expo Center, and all we get is your statement that it was a "social experiment", and that you were correct in your thinking. I wonder how you can call yourself a serious journalist – because, Charlotte, you are neither professional NOR credible. Contrary to what you "assume" – I did read the "joke" from headline to the end. Imagine this scenario – your phone rings, and it is someone claiming to be a sheriffs deputy, and he tells you that your husband has been in a fatal car accident. After letting it "soak in" for several moments, they exclaim " April Fools". Would you find this funny? (I think not) Reporting phony news is neither funny, nor is it news. Respondents such a "Bobby Hoyt" that claim that people that were offended by this are "cry-babies" and that they should lighten up, are just as clueless as you are. Joking about peoples livelihood and financial well-being is in extremely poor taste, and would never be tolerated by a "real" news agency. I also wonder if you asked for (and received) permission from IKEA Corp. and Ascension Parish Government to use their names in your "news story"? The public has been bombarded by enough bad news lately – you should be ashamed of yourself for upsetting these sensitive readers. I will suggest that you do this in the future – report the news – then back it up with facts and information. Please leave your jokes for the comic section, and – if you have a personal opinion or wish to perpetuate more untruths – headline it as an editorial! Sorry, but a lot of us did not appreciate your "joke"!

  11. Wow! Charlotte, you stirred up a hornet's nest, but I enjoyed reading your opinion. I had much rather read one of your editorials than anything written by Reagan. Wade? so, so. Yours are still my favorites.

  12. bobby hoyt says:

    bunch of cry babies…the lot of you. if you take the news as serious as you say and expect to be able to take everything from a newspaper to be “real” news then do your part AND READ THE DAMN THING and you wouldve realized it wasnt true. if you find pranks in poor taste, then fine but dont expect everyone else to have a stick up their ass. some of us, even as adults, enjoy pranks and are a little immature in nature. but is that a bad thing? not to me. i find it to be quite freeing and helps me to not be so discouraged about the bad things going on in our communities and govt. maybe if we all could let go of being so serious all the time, we’d be a happier society instead of so damn uptight.

  13. Wait so Lamar Dixon sold…….? Haha. Good article!!

  14. First of all, we’re “supposed” to take what you as a writer of this squash of a newspaper informing our city and parish as true and without a doubt no questioning of the truth as “real” news…for me THE CREOLE is as condemning as the uninformed public is when it comes to several articles it has the nerves to publish….we as a parish love our LAMAR DIXON.and if you want to do an April fools joke. .maybe that was not the subject to do it on…it doesn’t matter what other newspapers do especially ones that are not “our local” online paper…and to use something as dear to us as LAMAR DIXON was cruel at the very least…and if our posted comments are truly read each and every one of them by now I would think this ‘newspaper” would know this community doesn’t take it very good to have uncalled for JOKES played on us…something else…the way the arrests reports are published…this newspaper seems to have theses people, who are, by the way innocent until proven guilty by a shadow of doubt, tried, judged and convicted, before they ever appear in court..some of the stories written are just plain stupid. ..start reporting the REAL NEWS and maybe you wouldn’t have bad comments…JUST A THOUGHT..SMH

  15. Guess she doesn't watch south park

  16. JackStallion says:

    Woo… I almost passed out from caring so little about this article.

  17. That's the spirit. Unfortunately in these days and times people are unaccustomed to sound bytes and they do not read nor spell or even do basic fact checking.

  18. There is a lot of truth in people don’t read. When I read something I generally seek numerous credible sources to confirm it. Many times I find out outlandish information is half true. And you did not punk me either Charlotte. LOL But it looks like you did others and they aren’t happy about it.

  19. Love this! So true!

  20. Not all people participate on April fools. Most mature people don’t. Especially in regards to people’s livelihood.