How to Post an Obituary

If you’re wondering how to post an obituary to your local paper or online, this article is for you. We will guide you by showing you the step-by-step process of publishing your loved one’s obituary in newspapers and online.

An obituary is a meaningful way to let people know about the death of a loved one. It helps to memorialize them, and to provide information about viewing, funeral, or memorial service, burial arrangements, and memorial donations, etc. An obituary also provides memorabilia to survivors and gives genealogist additional details about family history.

Traditionally, obituaries are posted in the local newspapers, national newspapers, and other resources such as local religious or volunteer organizations. Today, newspapers offer another option of publishing an obituary on their website.

Some funeral homes offer obituary posting to newspapers as part of their services. Some funeral homes will charge a fee for this service, but others will not. Having the funeral home post an obituary for you will simplify the process. If you are working with a funeral home, ask the funeral director if they offer this service.

If you need to post an obituary by yourself, keep reading.


WHERE TO POST AN OBITUARY

There are a variety of publications where you can post an obituary for your loved ones, including:

  • Local newspapers
  • National newspapers
  • Funeral home website
  • Obituary websites
  • Community publications
  • Industry publications
  • Church or religious publications
  • Church website
  • Social media
  • And more!


POSTING OBITUARY IN NEWSPAPERS

Obituaries announce the person has died, and provide information on funeral or memorial services, where donations should be made in the name of the deceased, and minor biographical details.

An obituary will include the following information:

  • Full name of the deceased (first name, middle name, last name, nickname or any other name which the deceased may be known)
  • Dates and locations of birth, marriage, and death
  • Cause of death (optional)
  • Schools attended
  • Awards received
  • Military service (if applicable)
  • Membership in organizations (civic, religious, fraternal)
  • Place of employment or business (positions held)
  • Hobbies and special interest
  • Name of spouse or significant other
  • Family members and special friend left behind (parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.)
  • Family members who preceded him in death
  • The viewing, funeral and memorial announcement, burial or interment information
  • Details for sending flowers or making donations on behalf of the deceased

The obituary may be submitted to the newspaper at least three days before the funeral by any family member of the deceased or by anybody who is acting on the family’s behalf, such as a friend or the funeral director.

Obituaries are subject to verification with a funeral home or crematorium before publication. If you are not working with a funeral home, you must provide the number of the mortuary or medical donation program. If you do not have this information, you must submit a copy of the death certificate.

Most newspapers charge a fee for posting obituaries, though some smaller local papers may not.  Some publications charge by word count, while others charge by the number of lines or number of inches printed.


HOW TO POST AN OBITUARY IN PRINTED NEWSPAPERS

Here are the steps you should follow if you want to post the obituary in printed newspapers:

STEP 1: Determine which papers you want to post the obituary

Make a list of local publications or national newspapers you wish to publish the obituary. Consider the location where your loved one spent a significant amount of time when he is living to determine the local newspaper to publish. Also, consider publications with national circulation if your loved one is popular.

If you want to know the newspapers in your area, you can go to the death notice website Legacy.com. They provide a copy of different newspaper publications by state and the links to their website. They also offer instructions on how to submit an obituary to your chosen newspaper and the link to the obituary section of the newspaper.

STEP 2: Do some research

Go to the newspaper’s website. Most papers have a link on their site directing people to submit an obituary, usually under the heading “Obituaries.” They typically have the procedure on obituary posting listed on their website.

Check the newspaper’s website to find all the information you need, as well as links to forms you need to fill in. If you don’t see information online regarding the submission of obituaries, call the obituary editor directly.

Call or email the newspaper to know the following:

  1. What is the cost to post an obituary?
  2. How are the costs computed? (Is it per line, character, or per inch?
  3. Is space between words considered a character?
  4. Do they charge extra for a photograph?
  5. Do they have formatting requirements that you should follow?
  6. Do they need to speak with a funeral director or ask for a copy of the death certificate before they post the obituary?
  7. When is the deadline for submitting the text for the obituary?
  8. How do you submit the text for the obituary? (Do you need to send an email, or do you need to be in-person to submit?
  9. For email submission, what file type should you use for the text and photograph? (Submitting the wrong file type may cause a delay in publication which can lead the obituary not being published on time.)

Depending on the newspaper, they may have a specific requirement for format and the length of the text for submission as well as submission deadlines for a particular print date. Generally, obituary text should be submitted two or three days before the publication date.

If you only want a price quote for the obituary, tell the newspaper that you are only looking for a quote. Also, mention whether you include a photo or a logo, and how many days you want the obituary printed.

STEP 3: Do cost comparison before evaluating your options

After calling and emailing newspapers to ask for pricing, compare the cost to post an obituary. Also, ask when is their deadline for submitting the text and photo for the obituary. Compare the price to determine which newspaper best fits your budget.

STEP 4: Proofread your text before submission

Read the draft of the obituary. Let a family member or a friend proofread the text and ask for feedback. Check for spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure the spelling of your relatives’ and friends’ names mentioned in the obituary are correct. Rewrite the text if necessary.

Make sure personal information like birthday, mother’s maiden name, and residential address are not included in the text to prevent identity theft.

STEP 5: Submit the obituary to the newspaper

Once you are satisfied with the text of the obituary, it is now time to submit the obituary to the newspaper or newspapers. Submit the text and photo via email or personal submission to the paper. Ask to see the obituary before the newspaper post it, so you are sure that all the information is correct.


PRICING AND OTHER DETAILS

Some newspapers may charge a fee for posting an obituary in their paper, while others may offer free obituaries. Their pricing for publishing an obituary may differ from one publication to the next. They may charge extra for attaching a photo and for the text that exceeds their word count.

The cost of posting an obituary varies by newspaper and location. Most newspaper pricing depends on what part of the country they are located in. Typically, it’s more expensive to post in newspapers in the cities.

Most newspapers charge per line (about 50-60 characters per line) per day. Attaching a photo may incur an extra charge, but to some, photo-charge is part of the lineage.

Pay attention to the file format when submitting photos. Most editors require a PDF and JPG format for online submission and hard copy for in-person submission. Check the website, email, or call the editor before submitting your text and photo. Correct formatting will help ensure the obituary will be published on time.

Obituary submission through email must be received by noon others have a 3:00 pm deadline. The newspaper will usually ask you the following information when you submit your text and photo:

  • Your name
  • Your phone number
  • Your address
  • The exact text of the obituary you want to be printed
  • Any photo or photos you would like printed
  • The name of the funeral home or mortuary taking care of arrangements
  • The phone number of the funeral home taking care of arrangements
  • The name and phone number of mortuary or crematorium if you are not working with a funeral home
  • The date you would like to see your obituary printed

You will be contacted by the newspaper editor to verify the cost of your obituary before its final approval to be posted in the newspaper.


ADVANTAGES OF PRINTED OBITUARIES

Printed obituaries in newspapers, magazines, and journals are the traditional method of getting the word out about your loved one’s death. Although online obituaries are gaining popularity, printed obituaries still have some advantages over the online medium.

Printed obituaries are not just a notice of death; it’s a life story preserved to ensure that the world remembers them. Printed obituaries can be put in a scrapbook and kept as a remembrance of the loved one that passed away.

Posting obituary in newspapers reaches the people who have a connection to the deceased, especially those who are in the elderly population who are not tech-savvy who still rely on newspapers to read the news.

Obituary in the newspaper is tangible, and you can look for it whenever you’re moved to cherish those memories. If you post an online obituary in social media, they will be buried down the timeline, and it will difficult for people to find them again in the future.

Printed obituaries are not open for public commentary, unlike online obituaries that can be populated with internet trolls who delight in posting hurtful and inappropriate comments that can make your life miserable.

Newspaper obituaries become part of history that can be used by future generations to research family genealogy. Genealogy work is possible by accessing newspaper obituaries through local public libraries and online.


HOW TO POST AN OBITUARY ONLINE

Online obituaries are now the thing with the funeral industry. Having an obituary online can save family hundreds of dollars because it cost less than the traditional newspaper obituary. Online obituary stays online longer compared to just having it run in the newspapers for a day or two. 

Here are the steps for posting online obituary:

STEP 1: Look for online resources to publish your loved one’s obituary. Perform an internet search to look for appropriate places to post your loved one’s obituary. Some of the resources you can put the obituary online include:

  • Funeral home website
  • Newspapers
  • Church
  • Community organizations
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Online obituary websites

STEP 2: Inquire with your funeral home, crematorium, or mortuary

Many funeral homes, crematorium, or mortuary publish an obituary on their website as part of their services.

STEP 3: Inquire about the cost of posting obituary online

After you determine the website to publish the online obituary, call or email to enquire about the cost associated with posting an online obituary. Many sites offer the opportunity to post your loved one’s obituary free of charge.

STEP 4: Ask about the requirements and procedures of online posting

Ask the page admin for the requirements and procedure for posting obituary online. Ask about the file type for the photo and if they have a format for the text.

STEP 5: Submit the copy of the text and photo for online posting

Some websites will require you to submit a copy of the text and pictures for online posting. While other websites will allow you to create an online obituary for your loved one on their site.

Paid online obituary sites generally allow you to put unlimited text and photos, custom music, stunning full-screen backgrounds. They also have a guestbook and social features that will allow you to connect with family and friends.


ADVANTAGES OF POSTING ONLINE OBITUARIES OVER PRINTED OBITUARIES

  • A newspaper is a throw-away item, and if the obituary is saved, it can become lost or damaged over the years. While online obituary can be accessed anytime online. Family and friends can print the online obituary on a better-quality paper to preserve it.
  • Online obituaries are less expensive than printed obituaries in newspapers. Some websites even offer their services for free.
  • You have complete control over the length of the text in an online obituary. Your word count is limited to newspaper obituary because of the cost of printing. With online obituaries, you can write the text to your heart content.
  • Obituaries posted online are more visually appealing than printed obituaries. The newspaper’s layout is confined to black and white while online obituaries have a wide variety of colors, themes, and fonts to choose from. You can create a customized obituary that reflects your loved one’s personality.
  • Online obituaries are interactive compared with traditional printed obituaries. Family and friends can share stories and fond memories of your loved one. They can also post photos and videos wherever they are.
  • Online obituaries can be easily shared. The online obituary on any website can be shared with any social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, allowing more people to know about the death of your loved one. Printed obituary in the newspapers is limited to where the paper is circulated.


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