Last week’s surprise over the disclosure that the Associated Press has prepared an obituary for Britney Spears (but apparently had not done so for Heath Ledger) led some to wonder which 20-something stars the agency has prepared obituaries for.
Speaking to US public radio’s On the Media programme, AP entertainment editor Jesse Washington explained how the agency deals with prepared obituaries. The agency has more than 1,000 prepared obituaries on file.
Deciding which celebrities to write obituaries is a simple matter of news judgement, Washington says: “It’s a simple two-factors: how likely is the person to die, and how big a story is it going to be when they do?”
Washington acknowledges that “Amy Winehouse has been on our radar for some time now as far as obits go. It didn’t take that video for us to have that thought,” he said, referring to the Sun’s video which allegedly shows the singer smoking a crack pipe. The Sun says 1 million people have viewed the video online.