FW: [FoRK] Gonzo Suicide

James Walker james.walker at stockland.com.au
Mon Feb 21 22:15:01 PST 2005


Interesting, I used to write obits for The Independent in the UK as a
freelancer.  At most major papers the obits are not written by junior
staff at all - in fact most of them have a pool of experts for various
subjects.

Standard procedure was to meet up with the obits editor - work through a
list of semi-important people who "might" die and just crack through
them.  When said person did die (often years later) then you just
updated the obit with whatever that person had been up to in the
interim.  The thinking is that when you draft the obit that person's
bequest to history has already been established.

And giving HST's recent output and reading what's available online,
that's exactly what has happened here.

I'll post one I did, prizes for guessing the add-ons!

James

-----Original Message-----
From: fork-bounces at xent.com [mailto:fork-bounces at xent.com] On Behalf Of
Wilkin, Kurt
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 3:40 PM
To: Luis Villa
Cc: fork at xent.com
Subject: RE: [FoRK] Gonzo Suicide


on Tuesday, 22 February 2005 4:38 p.m. Luis Villa wrote:
> I'm guessing part of the shallowness of the obits is that the folks
> writing unexpected/surprise obits on very, very short notice on an 
> American holiday weekend are fairly junior down the chain, and for 
> them, Depp and Doonesbury are where they get a lot of their picture of

> the man. It's not like he's required reading in most journalism 
> programs (though Fear and Loathing '72 should be required reading in
> every journalism program and most political science programs.)      

Didn't realise it was a USian holiday (which doesn't apply 
internationally), but now that you say, does seem that most mentions 
were quick rehashes of the NYT report.

Washington Times and BBC have more in depth articles up now, so 
presumably the standard of the dupes will pick up too.
Note : didn't intend to imply they were obits, but collectively 
the reports barely showed a life worth mentioning. 
There must be more than a few people portrayed by popular actors 
who've been mentioned in a comic strip.

And far be it from me to suggest what should be required reading for
journalists, but : he isn't? Damn, those books were the only clue I've 
ever had that there could be something appealing in journalism - 
from an "only allowed to do what you want after 10 years of reporting 
missing cats and celebrity hair styles" point of view. Always thought 
they'd be like, well, a drug, to anyone inclined that way.
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