Best of AP — Honorable Mention


Remembering a country music legend: AP dominates coverage of Toby Keith’s death and legacy

Toby Keith performs at ACM Presents an All-Star Salute to the Troops on April 7, 2014, in Las Vegas. Keith, who died Feb. 5, 2024, of cancer at age 62, is being celebrated for his immense catalog of songs. AP PHOTO / CHRIS PIZZELLO / INVISION


When word came that country singer-songwriter Toby Keith had died of stomach cancer at age 62, AP recognized that his impact went beyond music and touched a central part of the culture in the years after 9/11.

Norfolk’s Ben Finley, with contributions from music writer Maria Sherman, dug in, making sure that the material about Keith’s political impact was appropriately offset by his much broader contributions to country music overall and his fans. The analysis piece built on a well-written obituary by Mid-South Chief Video Journalist and entertainment writer Kristin Hall that captured Keith’s impact and his range of songs.

Through our obituary, a reaction story, an in-depth analysis piece and even a story about fans raising red Solo cups in his honor, AP captured the life and legacy of Keith.

Contact us