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What Do Readers Want?

As the end of the year approaches, we've been discussing whether it's worthwhile to do "Significant Deaths of 2008" story. A story like that is always full of surprises -- deaths you didn't notice during your busy lives, or those you overlooked for a myriad of reasons. Here's a fine story by former Post staff writer Bart Barnes that kicked off one such end-of-year compilation -- people still ask about this, which was headlined "You Really Have to Love Life to Write About Death Everyday."

Some major newspapers keep a running list on their website, something that we have not done yet, but perhaps with a bit of reader feedback we could convince the web producers to get underway.

Here's the question: Do you think it's worthwhile for us to pull together an end of the year list (linked, of course, to our obits) for the notable deaths of 2008 -- everyone from Sir Edmund Hillary to whomever steals the Christmas Day headline?

By Patricia Sullivan |  November 19, 2008; 12:03 PM ET  | Category:  Obituaries
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Yes, I do think you should have a list of the notable and interesting dead. The question remains whether you run it at the end of December or at the beginning of January.

If you run the list on December 24 as many newspapers do, it's inevitable that the biggest deaths of the year will occur between the 25th and the 31st and your list will be immediately obsolete.

If you wait to run it until January 2, on the other hand, nobody of note will die between the 25th and the 31st. Instead there will be breaking news on January 1 that will push your list out of the paper until the 3rd or 4th, at which time your list is obsolete. This is also inevitable.

Posted by: Blurgle | November 20, 2008 2:52 PM

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