Are Newspapers Covering Costs By Gouging Readers Placing Obits?

Writing on his Reflections of a Newsosaur blog, Alan D. Mutter contends newspapers are sticking it to those who place paid obits in their pages. He said the San Francisco Chronicle wanted $450 for a 182-word death notice. Mutter says the gouging may be part of an industry-wide trend.

He writes:

Newspapers, like funeral directors, know they can charge whatever they want when someone dies, because it’s not a time that people are in a state of mind to hunt for bargains. In most communities, there is only one paper to choose from, so there is no other option, anyway.

Newspapers selling high-priced death notices know that the several hundred dollars they charge will be mere rounding errors in the four- and sometimes five-figure bills generated by the average funeral.

So, yes, they can get away with it. But that doesn’t make it right.

What do you think is a reasonable rate to pay a newspaper to print an obit?

Death-notice price gouging: Why? [Reflections of a Newsosaur]

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