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Obscene Obituary Rates

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by daytonadan1983, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. daytonadan1983

    daytonadan1983 Active Member

    Dad died last week.

    Mom did want more than the "complimentary one sentence" (Like we're supposed to be GRATEFUL!?) in the newspaper.

    $150 for three sentences so we could get the service info in the paper. She wanted it, I ordered it and bit my tongue.

    Funeral home web site was free, including photos. THAT turned out nice.

    I mean, the least they could do was offer a couple free copies... BUT NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    What the hell happened? And how does management justify pissing off a fading market at the worst time?

    I'll listen.
    lakefront likes this.
  2. SEeditor

    SEeditor Member

    Rates are all over the board. Our papers charge on average between $150-$250. It depends on length. But I’ve heard neighboring papers charge a heck of a lot more than that, closer to $500-1,000 easily for the same obit.
  3. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I know Fredrick can be crabby and is seen as a hateful jerk, but I'm glad you started this thread. Anybody trying to bury a loved one in a "big" city has experienced this disgraceful disgraceful disgraceful money-grubbing tactic of newspapers charging exorbitant amounts for obituaries and funeral service information. You know what ... boomers who read the paper and were our best customers are dying. And their obits cost 500 to 1000 dollars. All because newspapers are trying to scrounge enough money to make sure the CEO's can keep their boats filled with gas and get new roofs and paint jobs for their vacation homes. Also buy more motorcycles and snowmobiles and pay for a couple more vacations per year.
    Shame shame shame. For all the years boomers supported the newspaper when nobody else knows what a newspaper is. ... The suits hold up families for this kind of money for a service that used to be FREE. It's sick and sad and I'd like a suit on here to defend the practice. Seriously folks ....
  4. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    And Daytonadan sorry for your loss and sorry you hate to bite your tongue experiencing that shake-down. Bless you and your mom.
    Bronco77, Vombatus and Liut like this.
  5. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I know when I wrote an obit for a family member, I would have loved to have made what the paper made per inch. Also - the funeral home's "obituary service" is them taking your obit into the newspaper and charging you $100.
  6. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member

    I remember in the last 1990s when I was copy desk chief (news side) at a newspaper and obituaries were free. The suits thought of it as a public service.
    Liut likes this.
  7. Our paper would charge an arm and a leg for obits. But, - get this - wedding and engagement announcements were free.
    I argued the reverse should be happening for years.
    SEeditor and garrow like this.
  8. daytonadan1983

    daytonadan1983 Active Member

    Frederick, my good sir, I DEMAND this conversation and wish I could unload on the local shop MANAGEMENT without adverse affect on my teams' coverage.

    I didn't want one extra ounce of anguish for Mom -- we have those members of the family for that, so I did what I'm supposed to do -- crank out the 3 sentence for the paid, mutter obscenities under my breath and had them run my debit card. Then I cranked out a nice 500-worder for the Funeral Home web site that included a sentence about his cat.

    The SID in me did what I'm supposed to do and was the first one to arrive at the funeral home and the last to leave both the cemetery after the graveside service and the chapel after the reception. (I'm my ward's membership clerk and have a key to the chapel. Mom's impressed with that).

    The journalist still in me honored the great Jimmy Breslin and went over to the gravediggers and thanked them. Everyone plays a role, right? Why can't newspapers.

    And since I'm supposed to write it out -- here's my 3 best lines (I posted to facebook)

    1) You wanna know the moment I knew my brother would crush the eulogy? When he asked me "How do you spell eulogy?"

    2) I've known the funeral home owner for years and he always chuckles when I go "we gotta stop meeting like this?"

    3) The person who graded out the best? (Yes, my brother and I did that...) My ex for delivering a heartfelt blessing on the food at the reception. I was even more impressed she didn't burst into flames the moment she stepped foot in the church. BOOM!

    Thanks, everyone.
  9. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry for your loss. Seems to me I would not put it in the paper, I would just share it on social media. It's free and everyone will see it. Heck, can even put a rider on it: "If you think someone who is not on social media won't see this, please let them know."

    I quit Facebook a few years ago for like five weeks, and no joke I almost missed the funeral of a friend's husband. That's where it'd been shared. Granted, I'm now reading paper obits on the regular, because I'm 46 and nosey. But I still expect to be apprised of things on social media.
    Liut likes this.
  10. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Sorry for your loss.

    My dad died five years ago. The pair of obituaries cost probably $800. I can only imagine what the rates would be now.
  11. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Heck yes. Look at the NYTimes and their often obnoxious announcements, which people go nuts to try to get in print. The paper doesn't charge but if it wanted to, they could probably underwrite a job or two for a year with what those well-off folks (and their parents) would pay.

    I'm sorry for your loss, daytonadan.
  12. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Very sad. This should be a free service even if we have to lay off two more people a year in the newsroom as we head toward closing the doors for good.
    Danwriter likes this.
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