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Not letting it be: Student newspaper apologizes for 'Paul is Dead' speculation

An image of the Northern Star article from 1969.
Northern Star

It was 1969. The Beatles were just days away from releasing Abbey Road. Then, a rumor began.

The Northern Star, a student publication of Northern Illinois University, ran an article titled "Clues Hint At Possible Beatle Death." The idea that Paul McCartney had passed and was replaced with a doppelganger began to receive attention.

Now, 54 years later, the Star's current editorial board decided it was time to set the record straight.

"With our 1969 publication, we helped support the untrue, international conspiracy theory that McCartney had been replaced by a lookalike. For that, the Northern Star would like to apologize – even if it comes 54 years late," it wrote.

While the newspaper previously admitted the "Paul Is Dead" rumors were only a hoax, the board felt a formal apology was needed. It also had something else to clean up.

"It has recently come to light that our infamous 1969 article was plagiarized from a Times-Delphic article written a week prior to our article. The Times-Delphic is the student-run newspaper of Drake University," the board said.

"To the Times-Delphic, we sincerely apologize for plagiarizing your journalistic efforts."

So why bring this up now? After all, the student reporters at the newspaper weren't even born when the incident occurred.

“I think the fact that people, no matter how mislead they were, attributed it to us was like, I felt like kind of a stain on us,” said Bridgette Fox, the current Written Managing Editor for the Northern Star.

As for the subject of the article?

"If Paul McCartney were to reach out to the Northern Star, I think I would absolutely die...unlike him," Fox said. "Paul, I hope you're in good health."


Cole is a graduate student reporter enrolled in the Public Affairs Reporting program at UIS.
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