The most important piece of information in this engagement announcement found in Bowling Green, Ohio’s Sentinel-Tribune newspaper on December 14th is “A wedding date has not yet been set.”
That’s because Gordon Parks II and Jill M. Goris are not engaged.
While the photo is real, and Goris admits she has met Parks in real life, the engagement is a figment of Parks’ imagination. The bride-to-be isn’t a bride-to-be; the groom-to-be is a “stalker.”
One day later, this important correction appeared in the paper:
The Poynter Institute, a non-profit school for journalism, did some digging and spoke with Karen Cota, the newspaper’s lifestyles editor, about how such an announcement ended up in the paper:
Cota said the woman sounded concerned.
“She was just aghast and unsure what she should do,” Cota said. ”I think I probably said … ‘You need to call the police,’ and she said, ‘Thank you, I will this afternoon.’ I haven’t heard back anything from her.”
After the call, Cota took the notice off the website and a correction ran in the next day’s paper.
The paper’s policy is to publish engagement notices free of charge as long as they’re submitted at least one month ahead of the wedding. Cota said most notices are submitted by women, but it’s not uncommon for a man to do it, as in this case. She also said legitimate announcements have included casual shots like the one featured in the man’s submission.
Cota has been at the paper since 1980 and to her recollection this is only the second time someone has submitted a fake engagement announcement. (The other incident involved the daughter of the mayor of a small town; the mayor called to politely say there was no engagement.)
That seems like an honest mistake, but with an honor system like that at most papers, it’s a wonder more fake wedding, engagement and death announcements don’t end up in the printed editions.
In this instance, you better believe Gordon Parks II had some masturbatory fun over this one.