Thursday, January 17, 2008

Britney Spears Isn't Dead, But the AP Doesn't Like Her Odds

I think it is well known that many news organizations write celebrities' obituaries ahead of time, hanging on to them until they are ready to be published. (Traditionally when someone dies.) This practice spares an obit writer the task of writing 7,925 words on Gerald Ford in one day. (Actual length, by the way.) The downside to doing this, however, especially in the digital age, can occur when your "ahead of time" obits become public. But usually that embarrassment is reserved for the news organization; after all, I doubt Dick Cheney or Nelson Mandela can really be shocked to learn that their obits have already been written. But what does it say about you when your obituary has been written by the Associated Press and you're 26 years old?

The Associated Press began preparing Britney Spears’ obituary within the past month, has learned. "We are not wishing it, but if Britney passed away, it’s easily one of the biggest stories in a long time," AP entertainment editor Jesse Washington tells Us.

"I think one would agree that Britney seems at risk right now," Washington adds. "Of course, we would never wish any type of misfortune on anybody and hope that we would never have to use it until 50 years from now…but if something were to happen, we would have to be prepared."

Washington also says the AP has a "pretty extensive obituary operation," and that staffers are "constantly adding people."

I can understand the need to be "constantly adding people"; let's face it, there are dozens of ways this sad story can end, and they have to prepare for every death possibility. Tom Brokaw can certainly relate.

[US Magazine]

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