Whether you have recently lost a loved one or know someone who has, it’s useful to know what to do when submitting an obituary.
What to write
The first step is to actually write the obituary. For families of the deceased, it can be a particularly painful process. So if you have suffered the loss of a loved one it may be worthwhile to delegate this task to another family member who is not directly involved with the funeral arrangements. This can give you some peace of mind and free up your time a little during this difficult stage. Alternatively, you can always ask your funeral consultant for advice or assistance.
If you are writing in condolence of the family of the deceased try to be warm, personal and as succinct as you can. This can be quite difficult to do in just a few lines of text so if you’re struggling to keep it short consider writing a sympathy note or letter after you have submitted the obituary.
How can you submit an obituary?
Every publication is different but most will have various ways for you to contact them. Some newspapers may offer an online order system which means you can do it all right from the comfort of your own home. Otherwise, popping in for a visit during office hours of the small publications can be simple enough.
For the bigger, statewide newspapers you will likely need to either call or email their customer service line. Submitting an obituary via phone call can understandably be a difficult task so if you find this particularly uncomfortable, try to nominate another family member or close friend to do the task for you.
When should an obituary be submitted?
Each newspaper or local publication will have different deadlines for print. Usually email submissions need to be sent in earlier than phone calls. If you would like the obituary printed the next day, try to aim for no later then 4pm and be wary of different weekend and public holiday print deadlines.
How much does submitting an obituary cost?
It is fairly standard practice for newspapers and local publications to charge a flat fee for printing an obituary as well as additional costs for each extra line of text. Images and printing in colour are also likely to cost extra. Although the choice is entirely up to you, obituaries are designed to be short and depending on the newspaper, some may have limits to how many lines you can ‘buy’.
What happens if a mistake is printed?
If a mistake is printed you will likely need to contact the newspaper directly. Try looking on their website for a direct hotline or in the email signature if your obituary was submitted via email. Online order systems should provide you with a contact number and should be found on the receipt of your order.