Monday, March 23, 2015

Thinking about obits, graphically

Early this morning, The Economist tweeted this chart to accompany its obituary of former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew:

I admit, I haven't given much thought to showing the deceased's life in graphics. What are some interesting charts, maps and infographics you've used to accompany your stories?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Unique Cause Of Death Listed In Family-Written Obit

When Stephan Merrill of Winter Haven, Fla., died earlier this month, his family didn't have an exact cause of death to list in his newspaper obituary. So they made one up, and had a bit of fun with it.

“It was worth it for the family. It was the only time the family was able to laugh in days,” Merrill’s close friend, Andrew Albreacht, told the local ABC affiliate WFTS. “We were all laughing, and it made the situation easier to deal with.”

Click here for more.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Obituary Writing: A Complex System Of Building Up Trust

Kay Powell, retired obituary writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, recently had a delightful chat with Bill Nigut on the radio program "Two Way Street." Click below to get the inside scoop on her writing process and to hear a few anecdotes about the ordinary people who were the subjects of her stories.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

JOB: Creative Obituary Writer is recruiting for independent obituary writers with creative, consultative and respectfully techniques to meet with clients and co-author pre-planned obituaries as well as obituaries as needed by family members.

FMI: Click here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Quote of the day

"Cornelius stepped away from the window as a servant brought him the morning paper. He took his place in a comfortable recliner and opened first to the obituaries, as was his daily custom, to see if anyone he disliked had died, but sadly the announcements held no joy." --Larry Correia, "Hard Magic"

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Making a List….

I'm compiling a list of the 50 best books for obituary writers. These are the memoirs, anthologies, novels and reference guides that every journalist assigned to the death beat should read.

Here are the eight we already feature on our website:

"The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries" by Marilyn Johnson

"Life After Death" by Nigel Starck

"Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers" by Alana Baranick, Stephen Miller and Jim Sheeler

"Deadlines: Obits of Memorable British Columbians" by Tom Hawthorn

"Obit: Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People Who Lived Extraordinary Lives" by Jim Sheeler

"If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name" by Heather Lende

"Final Salute" by Jim Sheeler

"Working the Dead Beat" by Sandra Martin

What other books should we include?

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Oh you want this shirt? Here you go

You know that old cliche about the deceased giving someone the shirt off his/her back? Well, it's always wise to verify such a story before adding it to an obituary.

For example, when Oprah Winfrey eventually dies, her obit writers will be able to use a version of the line with confidence. Earlier this year, the talk show legend gave away a designer dress simply because a stranger asked her for it.