The Motley Fool had a grand time on Thursday (April Fool's Day) and hopes you did, too. Puckishness aside, the following three articles offer genuine insight from professional Fools.

An Inside Look at the Boom and Bust of Real Estate

This week's interview with Motley Fool CAPS All-Star floridabuilder2 is a great example of how the community's 160,000 members help one another find the best investments and avoid the stinkers.

"Armed with data that only an industry insider could have, [floridabuilder2] identified the builders he thought would be hit with a wrecking ball versus those he thought would survive the bursting of the real estate bubble." The Fool decided to revisit the 2007/2008 housing crisis and get perspective on the years ahead from floridabuilder2, one of CAPS' best and brightest.

How bright? His top hold pick, NVR (NYSE: NVR), was up 34% during the worst residential real estate crisis since the Great Depression.

Here are a few tidbits from floridabuilder2's interview:

  • Insiders know that the bigger risk is in land holdings rather than homebuilding.
  • Going forward, Fools should focus on quarter-over-quarter community count.
  • Debt is important, but only comes into play the longer the industry is sucking wind.

Click to the article to read the full interview.

The Battle for Independence

Corporate board members would do well to emulate Jerome York's work on the boards of companies including General Motors and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). York, acknowledged as a turnaround expert at Chrysler and IBM (NYSE: IBM), was an Apple board member at the time of his death in mid-March.

Fool columnist Alyce Lomax illustrates how "independent outsiders who exhibit independence of thought" are critical shareholder allies.

"With York's passing, Apple's board now has one less independent director, and shareholders should wonder whether it could afford the loss. ... [A]nyone who's read much about Apple's Steve Jobs may come to the logical conclusion that a strong board's absolutely necessary to deal with such a strong-willed CEO," writes Alyce.

Click to the article for Alyce's thoughts on what investors in every company can learn from the Apple situation.

Are Newspapers Finally a Buy?

Former paperboy and current Fool contributor Tim Beyers has a handle on the bullish and bearish arguments surrounding newspaper and media stocks, where companies including Washington Post Co. (NYSE: WPO), Gannett (NYSE: GCI), and Media General (NYSE: MEG) are in the mix with others like Craigslist, Google, News Corp., and eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY).

"Why be bullish about companies that owe too much and produce too little advertising revenue?" asks Tim. "Because no one else wants the job. A well-constructed contrarian investing strategy can be profitable."

Tim also chimes in, "e-readers allow for sharp and efficient digestion of content; they're built for blogs, newsletters, niche magazines, and newspaper sections."

When it comes to investing in newspapers, investors must let the facts get in the way of what might seem like an easy decision. Click to the story for Tim's help, plus his pick on a better niche for your investing dollars.

Apple and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Google is a Rule Breakers selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread on eBay.

Fool online editor Kris Eddy doesn't own shares of any stocks mentioned in this article. Try any of our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Fool has a disclosure policy.