Cashing in on death

We all know the cost of living is rising.

But so is the cost of dying.

My longtime employer recently started charging $55 for publishing death notices, a service the newspaper has forever provided for free.

So if the family of Frank Johnson, 77, laborer, Sapulpa, wants to advertise this transition on one of the state’s largest platforms, it now must to pay for the privilege.

Readers, understandably, are upset. Calls to the office and letters to the editor have been steady. Many have painted the newspaper as an insensitive, money-grubbing, corporate villain.

And here’s why.

Obituaries and death notices, their much slimmer cousins, are some of the best-read items in the paper. Newspapers are historical documents that researchers and genealogists count on to provide snapshots of time. With this exclusionary policy, it loses status as a newspaper of record.

That, to me, is sad.

I don’t like the policy. But I do like being employed. Journalists gotta eat, same as butchers and cab drivers.

Here’s the thing.

I remember buying a Coke for a dime. Now, in most instances, I’m dropping close to a buck for the same 12 ounces. Cell phones are making land lines obsolete. Gas prices have risen astronomically since I was a child.

The point is, society changes. Time marches on. And what used to be isn’t reality.

Giving things away is an unsustainable business model.

So if dying makes my family poorer, I guess I can live with that.




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