Obituaries at the Speed of Light

By: Daryl Berry
Sunday, March 20, 2016

 

As I mentioned in a recent post, I never cease to be amazed at technology and the internet and what it means to the way we do things these days.  I am setting in the waiting area of a car dealership writing this article by keying it into my cell phone as I wait to get my oil changed.

One of the significant changes for funeral homes is the way obituary information is spread now.  While we still use traditional means such as radio and newspaper to announce funeral arrangements, online announcements have become the way that many are now getting this news.

In our local area I would say that radio is probably the most used source for relaying obituary information though it is limited in the amount of biographical information provided. 

In larger markets where radio obituaries are unavailable, newspaper obituaries in daily papers have historically been depended upon.  When I started my career, the Louisville Courier Journal offered a death notice they ran for free because it was news.  If someone wanted to post a more complete obituary they could purchase a classified ad.  It was much like that in the Lexington Herald Leader with them offering a free obituary as a news story but charging by the line for an obit in which you could say anything you wanted about the deceased.

As subscriptions slipped and advertisers left newspaper ads behind, the papers turned to the obituary page to make up for lost revenue.  Other than a very brief death notice which amounts to two lines in the Courier Journal and Herald Leader, free obituaries around here are a thing of the past.  The typical obituary you see in either of those papers will run over $500 if a photograph of the decedent is included.

Until just recently the Central Kentucky News Journal offered a free notice which limited the number of survivors they included.  For instance, siblings of adults were not included in free obits, but they would include the names of the minister and pall bearers.  Doesn't make sense to me but that is their policy.  That same obit is no longer free but now costs $25.  To include a photo and list all survivors and other information they charge per column inch, typically over $150 depending on the length.  Since the CKNJ comes out only twice a week, many times an obit will come out in the paper after the funeral which limits the usefulness for finding out about funeral arrangements.

Enter the Internet.  For several years funeral homes have been posting obituaries on their websites at no additional charge to the families.  There are also other websites such as Campbellsville.com and findagrave.com where obituary information is posted.  On the Lyon-DeWitt-Berry website we post a complete obituary with a photograph and give the public an opportunity to post condolences to the family.  If the family provided photographs for a memorial tribute, the video is posted and can be viewed online as well. 

Of course nowadays with Facebook and Twitter, a person breathes their last and someone posts it for the world to share with others. 

Personally I think people should think before they post right after a death.  Finding out on Facebook that your grandparent has died is not pleasant especially if you read that post in a public place.  I have witnessed this first hand as I was making arrangements with a couple of sisters one day when one of their cell phones rang.  It was the lady’s daughter asking her mother why she hadn’t let her know that Granny had died that morning.  She had good intentions in waiting until her daughter got home from school to tell her.  Meanwhile the girl read about her grandmother’s death on Facebook.

As I stated, we now live in a world of instant information. The days of waiting for the paper to come out is not an option for many. I would encourage you to go to our website at lyondewittberry.com to sign up for notifications on our home page.  We will email links to obituaries when they are posted.  While you are there check some of the helpful articles dealing with death related matters

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