Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Britney Spears Death Watch?

WORD LEAKED OUT that the Associated Press has a prepared obit of down-on-her-luck pop star, Britney Spears.

The practice of preparing obits well in advance is common. Journalists need to be ready to launch the story as soon as it breaks. But prepared obits are usually reserved for celebrities late in their lives. Britney is 26.

The AP's entertainment editor justifies the practice this way: "For me, anyway, it’s a pretty simple two factors. How likely is the person to die and how big a story is it going to be when they do?"

Isn't that just morbid?

Of course, this is all punctuated by the early death of Heath Ledger and the mysterious events that lead to his passing on January 22 at the age of 28.

Does this practice of preparing obits follow the principles of journalism?

15 comments:

Chris Banks said...

while I don't think that it follows the principals of journalism (I don't think planning for someones death is something someone who activly uses their consicense does), I can understand why they do it. I mean, to be the first to break the story of a star who was once on top of the world who constantly teeters on the verge of death would be a big leg up on the competition.

Kayte Ljungquist said...

I think, as said, that journalists need to reveal the truth. They also need to be prepared for whatever can happen. I read this story a week or so ago and it did not surprise me. For a celebrity, as young and big as a star as she is, they need to be ready to write. She is having crazy events every night, where you wonder if she will leave alive or dead. She is highly publicized and journalists are going to want to be the first to print the story, so they have to be prepared.

Kevin Cook said...

I still can't believe Spears is still news. I mean, she shaved her head, gained some weight, lost her edge years a while ago and she's still covered. The media and most citizens are obsessed with starf---ing, it is just insane. I don't care about Spears anymore and I can't believe she's still a story. I undertstand why she was a 1000 stories ago, but she is way past her prime.

Jeff Frandsen said...

Who is this female? Britney Who? Anyway, I would have to say this goes against journalism principles. But it's a rumor (word leaked out?). And if it isn't published, (which it isn't because she hasn't DIED yet) isn't it just the press's problem and waste of time? ITS A BUSINESS. This girl is going on a whirlwind of hell right now. It's really sad to have witnessed the rise and fall of what was once a seemingly innocent girl. If you asked most people, she looks like DEATH, so maybe practicing her obit can't be too bad? Whatever. I'm done with this girl.

Shawn Needham said...

Well I never really thought about it, but I can see why there would be early obituaries, even if it is a little morbid. I suppose if the information remains confidential until it is needed, then who cares? In the case of Britney though, the press has been relentless, so I could imagine this causing some controversy and bad press for the AP.

Guido Martelli said...

i guess the AP is thinking ahead on this one, they can't wait for the day she crashes her mercedes into a starbucks. but i thinkeveryone needs to stop talking about britney, because we're all pretty bored with it. Celeb news in general is really just a waste of time, the only reason we see pics of people pumping their gas is because they are famous?? i hope people get over the celeb news and we get back to some "normal" stories

Laura Weber said...

The quote that AP entertainment's editor said gives journalists is proof why many people shed journalists in a negative light. Like Guido posted, this editor seems to be wishing for her death in order to sell more newspapers.
I am not a Britney Spears fan, but I think that this obsession with celebrity muckracking (alright, that might not have been the right term, but i'll go with it) is just becoming excessive, annoying, and very sick.

Laura Weber said...

oops...for the first sentence of my post, i meant to say "the quote of the AP entertainment editor is proof why many people view journalists in a negative light"

Brett Strycharz said...

It's a little bizarre to have those sort of pieces on the back burner waiting for somebody to pass away one way or another... but so long as the story doesn't leak to the public and the journalist just has some words written down in reserve, I see no problem with it.

Strangely enough, plenty of people would want to read about a washed up, miserable story such as Brittany's as soon as it broke; so if a reporter wants a head start over his/her peers, more power to them. I personally just wouldn't read it.

Guido Martelli said...

looks like the editor had an oracle----she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance


http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20080131_ap_spearstakenfromhomeinambulance.html

tiffany said...

Enough is enough already! The AP, along with every other entertainment media outlet is blowing this entire situation out of proportion. Being that I am completely obsessed with celebrities and their lives, (lame i know!) I feel like i cover the antics and actions of Britney on a daily basis! As much as i want to say she is normal, we all know she isn't. However, writing an early obit is just a cowardly way of taking advantage of her intense vulnerability! The AP knows they would get a reaction out of people who are die hard fans of the pop star, such as myself! The Associated Press has gotten wayyy ahead of themselves on this one! Does this follow the principles of journalism? If you want a story, yes! Is it wrong and morbid? Absolutely! The media provides an ongoing struggle for celebrities to live their lives normally. So of course Britney is going to have a bad day, or two, or three! ( i could keep counting!) Regardless, she does not deserve to be treated as if she is setting up her own suicide watch!!

tiffany said...

i must say i do need a life! :]

Julie Achilles said...

Although I'm somewhat tempted to pull a Chris Crocker and criticize the AP with a dramatic "Leave Britney ALONE!" I do think they have something going. Reading through the "Principles of Journalism" slides again, the bullet that caught my eye in relevance to this story was "We have a duty to make the significant interesting and relevant." Is Britney Spears's cracked out life really that significant to us as consumers? I guess you could argue that. While I do think that writing up an obit for 26-year-old Britney is pretty morbid, at the same time, the AP is giving the people what they want to hear, right? And that, of course, is another very important part of journalism.

mangosass16 said...

It's sad to say but at this point she is so delusional that it doesn't surprise me at all. Between faking a British accent to having breakdowns on a regular basis, the media is just having a field day with her and it's their right. If she didn't want the attention and the paparazzi following her she would move out of L.A. and get help.

David hall said...

First off I think Britney Spears is great. She's the reason why we hate the news yet when she comes on we dont change the channel. Thats why she's still there because we watch her. Britney has you under a spell she's trash but we cant stop looking. I dont know about writing an obituary quite yet though Britney isnt going to die anytime soon.