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Guide: Filing A Death Notice Or Obituary

The terms "death notice" and "obituary" are often used interchangeably even though they're different things.

What You Need To Know

A death notice, which is written and submitted by families or loved ones, almost always requires payment, just like a classified advertisement. Death notices announce the person has died, and offers information on funeral services, where donations can be made in the name of the deceased, and minor biographical information. Most newspapers charge a fee for printing these, though smaller local papers may not. Some papers charge by word count, while others will charge by number of lines printed or number of inches printed.

Obituaries are editorial articles written by the newspaper's staff and are mini-biogarphies, often focusing on the newsworthiness of the deceased. Traditionally, obituaries are printed in local newspapers, national newspapers, and various other places that may write about the death, such as local religious or volunteer organizations. Newspapers may also offer the option of publishing online-only obituaries that will not run in the printed paper but will be published on the newspaper’s website. If you are working with a funeral home, they may offer to write the obituary and have it published for you.

Working with more than 800 U.S. newspapers, will help you identify the newspapers you want to publish the obituary in, offer instructions for how to submit an obituary to the newspaper of your choice, and link to the obituary section of that newspaper. Selecting the state in which the newspaper is published will take you to a list of all the newspapers in that state, and from there you can choose where you’d like the obituary to appear.

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