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How Obits Have Changed

Patricia Sullivan

Nice piece in Obits magazine about how newspaper obituaries have changed over the years. It seems that the Civil War was a turning point; previously "writers were striving to convey the reality of death without having to state the unpleasant truth that somebody had actually died. So readers learned of decedents who had been scathed by the wing of the destroying angel, or erased by the omnipotent author," Jeff Gammage wrote. Lots more in the piece.

The question that is intriguing, though, is what this means for newspaper obits in the future. Will they still exist? In what form? Will they vanish as families prefer to pen their own memorials, and are willing to forego the formality of a news obit? Tell us what you think.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  June 8, 2009; 11:19 AM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan  
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