19 April 2010

Death of the Newspaper Obits

The price of obituary notices continues to climb. The cost of dying is expensive and an obit is nice, but not necessary. If this keeps up maybe I will leave just a list of who to invite in my paperwork along with where and how information.

This topic has been brought up by non-genealogist on a blog called "Reflections of a Newsosaur" after the San Francisco Chronicle charged $450 for a 182-word one-run death notice. Check out, Death-notice price gouging: Why? and read the comments too.

On another blog, "Poynter Online" there is a recent posting, Reviving Obituaries, Death Notices Before it's Too Late. Yes some people subscribe to the newspaper just to read the obits to see if anyone they knew died. In this posting the new practice of using Legacy.com is brought up.

My negative experience with obits I had laid on the funeral home. Please, add your comment on your experiences with obits.

Are obits going to disappear or move to a different media?


  1. The BBC/News reported on April 16th that a California man sent his own obit in to the local paper, Mountain Democrat, with $90 for the obituary. He then went and hung himself.


  2. The news articles referenced are excellent. Many valid points brought up in the evolving 'life' of the newspaper. My biggest disagreement with the newspaper charging for the obituary is that they are getting a news reporter to do the work and then they charge the news reporter. The obituary is news that may cover 80 years, and 20 - 40 people's lives. Many of these people are still alive and will be referencing the newspaper maybe with a subscription. Yet the 'news reporter' (the funeral home or the deceased's immediate family) has to PAY to report for the paper who will also receive the subscription revenue.
    The news industry really needs to rethink the policy. The charges seem to occur with the larger newspapers. I know the one from my hometown does not charge. It is a smaller newspaper. They also seem to request marriage announcements. Both items are free.

  3. Many of our earliest papers have provided us researchers with artistic words about our deceased ancestors. This reporting let us learn much more about the person, his parents, his family, his occupation, and his moral compass and his worth to the world during his life. And the deceased did not have to pay for these kind words.
    What a pity if this would disappear for the next generation. I say the news papers are greedy. If they would print the news people want, many would still subscribe. This is the first year ever that I have told my carrier to cancel my subscription.
    Not only, is there no local news, the printed word is no longer fair and balanced. Journalism class taught me to report the news, not to comment on it. Now they are charging exorbitant prices for the final message. Disgusting.