Over the years, people have asked me why I don’t publish obituaries. The main reason was because I trusted the local newspaper to provide them. My focus was to uplift readers.
That was until recently when I had to write obituaries for both my parents. I really had no idea how difficult it was. Then my family found out the cost to publish them. We were shocked at the rate charged per line, especially to include a photo…per day. Our family isn’t rich my any means, but we really didn’t have much of a choice. We could pay for a death notice at a cheaper rate or tell my Dad and Mom’s stories in obituaries (with limited words). Either way, the fees were exorbitant. All we wanted was to let their friends, whom we may not know about; know that they had passed away, and hopefully attend their services so we could meet them. It cost over $1000 per obituary to run in the newspaper for two days. This was not in New Bern, but most local papers charge similar rates. Unless you’re well off, people don’t have that kind of money.
My view on publishing obituaries on New Bern Now has changed as “The proverbial straw that broke my back” was when I was looking for our friend, Edward “Eddie” Kaplan’s obituary online. I was shocked to see it was behind a paywall on the newspaper’s website. Since we’re not subscriber’s, we had to pay to read it or we couldn’t access it.
We don’t believe in paywalls as our goal is to provide free community information to readers. To me, an obituary is one thing that should never have a paywall. Especially since Eddie was only 37 years old and the majority of younger readers don’t get the newspaper.
We decided to publish it so his friends could read it, attend his memorial service, and pay their respects to his family. It was the first time, but it won’t be our last.
With that said, we’ve teamed up with Pollock-Best Funerals and Cremations to provide this service without a paywall. Pollock-Best has supported New Bern Now as an advertiser.
I support them because when I was the Decedent Affairs Officer at Naval Hospital Cherry Point; Bob Burns, now the Funeral Director/General Manager of Pollock-Best, worked with me to help their grieving families. He provided outstanding service to our fallen military. We worked side-by-side for long hours from death to final disposition and his work was impeccable!
Please know that I believe every town should have a newspaper, but now that our local paper is owned by a giant corporation, I don’t foresee this practice of excessively charging grief stricken loved ones going away.
We know this will put more work on us, but we believe in equality. Everyone should be able to tell their loved one’s story and it shouldn’t depend on income or taking advantage of people when they are grieving and vulnerable.
We welcome death notices and obituaries from the Greater New Bern area. They will be published on our Obituary webpage.
Please let me know what you think by sending me an email or giving me a call at 252-259-6853.