The death of Michael Jackson topped a list of top-ten entertainment stories for 2009, and headlines emanating from Los Angeles dominated the list. The survey of news editors was conducted by Associated Press.
Its top stories: 1) The death of Michael Jackson; 2) the rise of singer Susan Boyle; 3) Conan O'Brien taking over NBC's Tonight Show and Jay Leno going prime-time; 4) the death of Walter Cronkite; 5) David Letterman's affair; 6) Chris Brown's assault on Rihanna; 7) Kanye West's bum-rush of Taylor Swift; 8) the success of live video on the internet; 9) the breakup of Jon and Kate Gosselin; and 10) Heath Ledger's posthumous Oscar award.
Of those stories four happened in Los Angeles, including: Jackson's death June 25 after he fell ill in Holmby Hills; O'Brien's takeover of the Tonight Show and Leno's
Letterman's migration to prime-time; Chris Brown's assualt on Rihanna in Hancock Park; and Heath Ledger's after-death win of an Oscar for playing the Joker in The Dark Knight.
Three of the big stories (Cronkite's death, David Letterman's affair and Kanye West's stage antics at the MTV Music Awards) happened in New York. One (Susan Boyle) was U.K.-based. Jon and Kate Gosselin's reality show was filmed at their home in Pennsylvania. And the web, while invented at UCLA, is everywhere.
Of Jackson's death as the top story, AP writes that it was "one of the most momentous and shocking deaths in pop culture history."