When you publish an obituary it can be done via a printed newspaper or a virtual paper. Some major newspapers have an online version for tablets and smartphones which may or may not include obituaries. Other major newspapers have made obituaries an online-only feature that is no longer present in their physical publications. There are many things to consider when deciding between an Online or Newspaper Obituary.
Online or Newspaper Obituary?
When you publish your obituary in a newspaper you are going to incur a significant bill. Major newspapers will only publish free obituaries if they feel they are newsworthy. These are written by in-house staff. If the obituary you want to publish does not fall into this category then you must pay a hefty rate per inch or per line. If you want to include a picture it will cost an average of $150 in addition to the cost per line. Smaller newspapers will publish an obituary for free if the deceased was a resident or person of significance to the town. Otherwise you have to pay per line or per column inch. A newspaper may be a good way of notifying people of a death but they are particular impersonal in that they do not allow for conversation to take place or any type of verbal exchange.
For some people a traditional newspaper obituary in the town where the deceased was born and raised is a good way to notify individuals who were close to the deceased or knew them from childhood. But in addition to this they prefer an online publication where two-sided communication is encouraged and sharing is available. In fact many newspaper publications may be short (acting as a notification of death only) with an ending line that notifies readers of the online forum or memorial site where more information can be found.
Online sites which publish obituaries are the perfect solution for those who are on a budget. You can save hundreds by publishing your obituary online. You are also not confined to a particular noun/verb structure or limited to a few lines of text. You can publish as much or as little as you want and maintain on open forum for online communication. You can also make an online photo book which includes multiple photos of the deceased rather than just a single profile shot.
When you publish an obituary online you are not limited to an online version of a newspaper. You can use an online website that allows you to publish a long obituary and invite friends and family to share in your grief. It is here that visitors can share stories of the deceased. They can sign a virtual guest book and make online memorial donations or send virtual flowers.
Overall don’t limit yourself to a single version. With modern day technology, you may need a different version for a paid classified ad, one for a family website or scrapbook, and one for an online post not limited by a cost per word or line. You might consider writing a short obituary (between 150 and 500 words) for a newspaper posting and a longer version for your family history. If you must submit a short notice of death alongside funeral information then do it. You can still submit a longer obituary later but post “complete information to follow” at the end of the short notice.
Return to Obituary Writing Overview