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Newspaper Death Notices May Be a Dying Business 171

Hugh Pickens writes "Alan D. Mutter writes in his journalism blog 'Reflections of a Newsosaur' that some newspapers exploit bereaved families with exorbitantly priced death notices — a distasteful and strategically inept way for them to try to make ends meet. 'I stumbled across the problem this week when I tried to buy a death notice in ... the San Francisco Chronicle, which proposed charging $450 for the one-day run of a crappy-looking, 182-word death notice,' writes Mutter. But lose the death notice business, and newspapers risk losing a huge audience driver as well. The solution may be partnering with websites like, a site that already publishes death notices for about two-thirds of the people who die each day in the US. 'It may not be easy to figure out the terms of a broader collaboration, writes Rich Gordon on, 'partly because some newspaper executives are wary of Legacy and feel the company could become a competitive threat for audiences and revenue. But this is exactly the reaction many newspaper executives had to collaborating with Internet companies in other classified advertising categories. I'd hate to see newspapers make the same mistake with death notices and obituaries.'"

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