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Quick work, careful prep put AP ahead on Jimmy Buffett’s death

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A late-night leap into action by entertainment writer Andrew Dalton and spot-on prep by entertainment writer Mark Kennedy delivered AP a decisive audience win on Jimmy Buffett’s death. Dalton noticed very late Friday night a report that Buffett had died. He worked to verify the statement and incorporated it into prep done by Kennedy. It was a seamless team up — done while many readers were asleep — that was the result of both Kennedy and Dalton handling numerous high-profile obituaries. Kennedy closely watches when stars are ill and uses prior interviews to craft obit prep, crafting multiple preps while working on a steady pace of stories. Dalton, on the front line of many breaking news stories, similarly fashions key prep and has become well-versed in verification standards for them. The story, with filing by overnight editor Brian Hannon, put AP between 10 and 50 minutes ahead of other outlets on push alerts. It earned 2.62 million page views in its first four days, staying near the top of search results thanks to audience work by the digital team.

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