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It is an honor to write an obituary.


Obituaries represent the final public mark a person makes on the world. The person charged with writing the obituary is privileged to be the maker of that mark.


The thing to remember is that but for one or two paragraphs, theres really no difference between an obituary and a profile. The best obituaries paint a picture; those who knew the person who died will chuckle with recognition; those who didn't will get a sense of who the person was. Newspapers write obituaries in advance for prominent politicians, artists, celebrities and the like and keep them updated. 


Start thinking about obituaries by reading Chapter 10 in the text.


Click here to read sample obituaries, both current and past, to get a sense of how they're written and structured.


Be aware that there's a difference between a "death notice" or "paid notice" and an obituary.


Obituaries are written by journalists who spend time reporting what is essentially a story. Death notices or paid notices are written by funeral directors or family members, who pay the newspaper for the space. One way to tell the difference is by the style of language. It's likely a death notice or paid notice if it's really short, with just basic information, or if it's really flowery. Click here for some examples.


Click here for other obituary resources, including a number of articles about the art and honor of obituary writing.


Assignment: Chapter 10 in the workbook, Exercises 3a and 3b.




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