RIP, Walt: Today in Fake ‘Breaking Bad’ Newspaper Articles

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Walt obituaryThe ending of Breaking Bad – yes, this article contains spoilers- has led to a whole lot of journalism, from long looks at the finale, to Team Walt analysisinterviews with Vince Gilligan, to “Walter White’s sickness Mirrors America” to even Norm MacDonald’s offbeat theories about what the finale means. 

There’s also of late been another genre of Breaking Bad writing: Fake newspaper articles about the show. According to Jim Romenesko’s media site, a group of Breaking Bad fans in the Albuquerque area, who run a fan tour of the city and the accompanying Facebook page, paid for a Walter White death notice in Friday’s edition of the Albuquerque Journal.

The leader of the group, David Layman, is employed as a high school science teacher, but does not appear to have an illicit, murderous second career, although he did tell the site that he once taught a student named Jesse.

The White obit follows the instance in the second-to-last episode– the one with the Charlie Rose cameo- in which Rose mentioned a newspaper article by New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin that dealt with Gretchen and Elliott and Gray Matter Technologies’ donations to a drug prevention charity. Sorkin is a real-life journalist who really does write for the Times, and he saw it fit to go ahead and write the fictional article himself. In keeping with both the Times’ style guide and Jesse Pinkman tradition, Walter White is referred to throughout the piece as “Mr. White.”

Maybe it’s the journalist in me, but I get that feeling once in a while when I see a movie: “What would a newspaper article about the events of this movie look like”? It would probably take months, time better used on, you know, real-life stuff, but I’d love to see someone write a David Grann-style long-form piece encompassing the events of the whole series.


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