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A look at our obituary policies

SPRINGVILLE — In this day and age, the media is not as far removed as it once was. Used to be, readers had to write letters or make phone calls to speak with a reporter or editor, and those calls were often not answered, those letters rarely responded to. Now, thanks to the Internet and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, we can have an ongoing dialogue with our readers and community members, all day and all night, if we want. Readers and community members can post photos to our Facebook page, comment on news items on our website and “tweet at us” if they run across newsworthy happenings around town. The news never sleeps, and it’s fun to see and hear what everyone is doing and more importantly, what you think about how we’re doing.

That’s why I see the Journal as a living thing, always growing and changing and re-evaluating ourselves, to make sure we’re the best voice of the community and mouthpiece to the community, about what’s going on in your towns and your lives. Because nobody is perfect (certainly not me!) and no policy is ever set so firmly in stone that it can’t be looked at again, from a fresh perspective, when necessary.

Last week, I had reason to look at our obituary policy, when a local resident expressed concern about how those notices were run. Unlike some papers, we run obituaries as news items, which means we reserve the right to edit them for content, much like press releases and other submissions. Similar to those items, we also run them as space allows and unfortunately, sometimes that means they don’t all make the next week’s paper. As much as we regret our space constraints sometimes, we also want to serve our residents the best we can, and that meant taking a closer look this week, as to how those constraints are handled.

To that end, we’re adjusting our policy slightly, starting this week. If a death notice or obituary is not going to make this week’s edition, but the funeral or viewing is before the next edition, we will run a short notice of that, in this week’s paper. That way, the family and friends of the deceased can be alerted to the date and time of those services, even if they have to wait a week for the rest of the details.

Thank you, to that resident for bringing up that concern. If I had it my way, I’d be able to fit every submission, the same week they come across my desk. But like my dad used to say, “If I had my way, I’d be president.” I hope this will help alleviate some of the strife that can arise when we do have to hold those items, and help the bereaved attend the services they want to make.

As always, I welcome questions, comments and all feedback from readers and residents at, by phone at 592-4550 ext. 24, twitter @springvilleny and on our Facebook page.

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