Monday, September 17, 2007

Bob Chaundy Explains the Death Beat

In a fitting farewell, Chaundy writes:

The obituarist is often characterised as a kind of media vulture hovering over its prey, waiting for it to die. "Grim Reaper" and "Doctor Death" are the kind of sobriquets attributed to our like. A colleague of mine once remarked, "When Bob says 'How are you?' it's a loaded question."

But I had been disabusing my neighbour the previous evening of the notion of there being anything macabre about working on obituaries. Obits are about life, not death. Not for us the "slap and clammy slither of the circumscribing clay", as my former colleague Andrew Marr, in Heaney-esque mode, once put it. Death is merely the pretext, dealt with on the front page, perhaps, or in the case of TV, in the newsreader's introduction.

Chaundy recently left the BBC after 18 years heading the corporation's news obituaries unit.


Alana Baranick said...

Thanks for sharing this article with us, Jade.

Congratulations, Bob!

Kay Powell said...

Bob, please remind your colleagues that I have a delightful picture of you in full cowboy regalia—including chaps—that would be an entertaining addition to your retirement parties.
You've brought stature to our little corner of this profession, and I appreciate it. I can't imagine a gathering of obituarists without you.
You'll be gone but not forgotten, which beats being forgotten but not gone. Stay in touch and have the most fun of your life in retirement.
Kay Powell

Alana Baranick said...

Bob points out that he has not "retired - just gone freelance and am open to offers!"

Also, for anyone who didn't figure out that you can click the title "Bob Chaundy Explains the Death Beat" to read the article from The Independent, here's the link spelled out:

Alana Baranick said...

I can't fit the entire link spelled out in that space.
Just click the title of the blog.