stories filed under: "obituaries"
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 23rd 2011 2:55pm
The big news of the day appears to be the death of actress Elizabeth Taylor. All the big news orgs are running obituaries, of course. And, as is typical with major celebrities, most of those news orgs had stock obituaries written long ago, which they pulled out, added a few final details, and posted. Of course, that leads to some odd situations, such as with the NY Times obituary for Ms. Taylor, in which it is noted that the author of the obituary actually died himself, nearly six years ago. While, again, lots of news orgs have pre-written obits, there does seem to be something a bit "off" in a newspaper claiming that it needs you to pay up to support its quality journalists... when it's using work done by someone who died years ago.
from the seriously? dept
We've seen all sorts of paywall ideas for newspapers, some more ridiculous than others, but this one seems really bizarre. We've been waiting for some time to see the details of Stephen Brill's paywalls-for-newspapers company, Journalism Online, and apparently the first "in the wild" test for the system will be with LancasterOnline, the website of a small newspaper in south-central Pennsylvania... and the paywall will only cover the obituaries section. Yes, you read that right. You can read seven obits for free, but if you have eight friends who died this month, you'll have to pay an additional $1.99 per month to keep reading their obits.
Newspapers' Revenue Plan: If Lots Of People Used To Give Us A Little, We'll Now Get A Few People To Give Us A Lot!
from the nice-try dept
Mark writes in with a story about how some newspapers are apparently jacking up the prices they charge for death notices (via The Consumerist). The original author balked at paying the SF Chronicle $450 for a 182-word death notice, calling it an exploitation of people who, when dealing with a death, will simply swallow it and pay up. That might be a little extreme, but clearly death notices are an area where papers can try to make up revenues they've lost in their classifieds and other areas. The key word here is "try" -- by jacking up the cost of death notices, the plan seems to be to replace lots of people paying newspapers a little bit of money with a few people paying them a lot. Which makes perfect sense, right? The problem is that papers are assuming that death notices are something people will keep paying for blindly, when, like so many other parts of their business, they appear to be living on borrowed time. Just like classifieds shifted to the internet, so too are things like death notices, with social networks like Facebook becoming a more popular way for members of younger generations to learn about deaths in their social circles. Charging high fees for death notices seems like an easy way for newspapers to hasten their irrelevance and demise, not a way to grow their revenues.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 19th 2009 6:33pm
from the hot-news,-dead-news dept
What is it with newspapers suing each other these days, rather than actually focusing on adding value? Eric Goldman alerts us to the news that the Scranton Times sued the competing Wilkes-Barre newspaper over "copied" obituaries. There are numerous problems with the lawsuit, not the least of which is that funeral homes often write the obituaries themselves (meaning the newspaper might not have any copyright claim to them in the first place) and distribute them to multiple papers (meaning they probably weren't even copied directly, but came from the same third party source). Luckily, the court has thrown out most (though not all) of the charges, including another attempt to revive the troubling "hot new" concept. It's good to see the court shoot that particular argument down quickly. In the meantime, Scranton Times: seriously? Is there really nothing better to be doing with your time and money than suing another paper for having the same obituaries?