Yitzhak Shamir and the Ghoul Pool

Yitzhak Shamir 1915-2012

The news cycle goes into overdrive when famous personalities die, which is why smart editors make sure to have obituaries written ahead of time and periodically updated.

The practice strikes some people — especially the biographical subjects — as eerie. One newsroom staffer I know wryly refers to his paper’s collection of obits on file as “The Ghoul Pool.”

But as we learned when US Navy SEALS suddenly caught up with Osama Bin Laden, (no pun intended) deadlines are deadlines.

I always find it more ironic when the newsmakers outlive the authors of their obituaries.

Eric Silver is the byline for The Independent‘s obituary of Yitzhak Shamir. Silver, a veteran UK journalist based in Israel for many years, died in 2008. The Indy acknowledges this with an editor’s note at the bottom of the page.

By the way, a similar thing happened with the NY Times and its 4,000 word Osama Bin Laden obituary. Now you know how the NYT got it online so fast.


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