Obituaries and Obituarists

Today, I received sad news by email about a notable young man who died in December. My correspondent wondered if he might be suitable for an obituary.1

I am sure he would have been, but there’s a problem – and I thought I might share the problem here.

I’ve written quite a few obituaries, for various papers. Most won’t run an obit if a certain amount of time has passed after the person’s death is announced. In most cases, as I recall, the cut off is one month.

It seems a bit random, but it’s the easiest way for their editors to keep on top of things.

They might possibly run something after 40 days, or even 60 – but they can’t fill the page with stories about somebody who died last year, or a decade ago.

Having said that, I told my correspondent to approach any suitable newspaper that runs regular obituaries: call the main newspaper telephone number and ask for the obituaries desk they’ll put you through.

1 For what it’s worth, here is a story about the man my correspondent mentioned, Dr Ewan Bowlby: