by Two Way Street’s Editorial Committee
Obituaries are a time-honored tradition that also happens to be the most highly profitable advertising format in journalism. Anyone who is still reading print publications has surely noticed that the newspaper obituaries sections are getting smaller and smaller every year. It’s been going on for at least a decade and it is only getting worse. People rely on the Obituaries section of the newspaper to find out about the people in their communities, to learn about their ancestry, and to keep up to date with the passing of friends and family. Obituaries contain information about births, deaths, and associations, surviving family, educations and accomplishments of the deceased.
Public figures, celebrities and other people that the newspaper deems newsworthy often get “free” press in a prominent location in newspapers of any size and circulation, but people without that status not only have the benefit of receiving the same coverage and often cannot afford to pay for their own obituaries.
Placing an obituary in the newspaper when a loved one dies is a time-honored tradition, but many unhoused and low-income mourners are discovering that the mere memory of their loved ones is all they can afford in today’s day and age.
Newspapers typically charge by the line for obituaries. The cost of placing an obituary ranges from a few dollars per line in smaller local publications, but can be hiked up to ten or twenty dollars per line for more prominent publications. Add a photo and the price goes up considerably. For this reason, Two Way Street would like to invite those who do not have the privilege to publish obituaries in more established publications to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.