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Obits, with news the family wouldn't want to mention

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Killick, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Killick

    Killick Well-Known Member

    Interested in what the board thinks about this:


    News and Observer did a news obit on wife of an old prominent politician, included her trial from 30 years ago in which she was acquitted. Trial was big news in its day, damaged her husband's career. So, they included it in the obit. Family and friends are pissed.

    Interesting to me because I ran into a similar deal a few years back. Local retired police chief died, and he had been drummed out of office decades before because of corruption. It was big news in its day. It nearly brought down the entire city government. And I referenced that in the obit. My rationale: Without that event, nobody would even remember who the guy was. I caught seven kinds of hell from the family, and the editor didn't back me as much as I would have liked -- yes, even though he vetted it before it went into the paper. I was left with the fabled "red-ass" over that one for a few years. It's still a point of contention with one of my best friends from the old newsroom.

    So, include the info, or not?
  2. DCguy

    DCguy Member

    You have to. The reason the person gets an extended obit that isn't just a blurb saying who outlives them is that they made the news for one reason or another. Whether the news was bad or good, it goes in. Newspapers aren't family newsletters.
  3. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    If they want to control their loved one's obit, they can start forking over some cash for them. Until then, it's editorial content and should be treated as such.
  4. beanpole

    beanpole Member

    a quality news story obit documents the best day and the worst day in the person's life.
  5. Killick

    Killick Well-Known Member

    Well, I think their worst day is inherently covered with... being dead and all. :p
  6. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    Ask Blago that question right now, you might get a different answer.

    Ask OJ that question right now, you might get a different answer.

    The worst day isn't always the last. If that was the case, wouldn't the best day be the first?
  7. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Everything that defined a person's life should go in the obit, good and bad.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Absolutely include the information. It's what makes that particular obit newsworthy.

    And, your editor should have backed you fully on it. No excuses.
  9. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    The PAID obit (almost all newspapers now charge for obits) should go in, word for word, as the family dictates.

    The news obit is a news story. The writer and editor decides what goes in. If the deceased was convicted of child molestation, it goes in.
  10. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    My first day fucking sucked. My mom kicked me out of my home of nine months. I came out wet and slimy and it was fucking freezing — about 20 degrees cooler than my old home. I couldn't see, I had no hair and I had a string of some sort attached to my stomach. And, some stranger pricked me with a needle. Brutal. Just brutal.
  11. Killick

    Killick Well-Known Member

    Mine sucked, too. I couldn't even bring myself to tell you what they did to my dick.
  12. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Shit, I forgot about that part!
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