One of the most important and necessary institutions in media is that of the obituary. Obituaries are necessary in order to keep readers informed about the deaths of members of their communities. Consider the example of the community which lacks obituaries. This community is lacking one of the most critical aspects of living in an informed society. It is important to the living to be able to know important information obituaries provide about the newly deceased.
As with birth, death is one of the two most important events in life, which obituaries acknowledge. The living need to be aware of several important pieces of information that obituaries provide. First, the community should be aware of the date of the person's death. This is important in order to facilitate anniversary ceremonies for example. Second, it may be important to list the cause of the person's death, especially in regards to the death of younger persons.
Third, making public the location of funeral services can be a critical help to the family in their time of loss, by broadcasting information to interested parties. Fourth, for persons interested in sending flowers to the funeral or in making donations to charitable causes in the name of the deceased, obituaries are a critical tool in conveying that information in an efficient manner. Fifth, obituaries often contain important information about the life of the deceased, such as their record of military service.
Additionally, obituaries can list the surviving members of a family. It is critical in our modern era to reflect upon the lives of members of our community, which is something obituaries can help with. If we look at the obituaries of the prominent members of our society, we can learn lessons from their lives which aid those in the world of the living. Obituaries can take many forms, from the traditional newspaper advertisement, to modern electronic forms on news websites. Obituaries can also be important to professional societies, such as the association of professional engineers. Other forms an obituary can take include obituaries in a church newsletter.
One interesting event in regards to obituaries is the premature obituary, which can damage the reputation of major media outlets when the subject is discovered to be living. Obituaries are among the most critical losses when a community loses its small town newspaper, but many communities have adapted to use electronic communications in the absence of those institutions. If a person is interested in the obituary of a prominent member of the public, that person can seek out other materials, such as articles written about the person, or even biographies.
Often times, obituaries can be an inspiring piece of writing which adds value to the lives of the living by way of example. If we look at the possible future of obituaries, social networks may provide a critical role in giving us information about a person’s life after they are deceased. We can imagine obituaries of the future including audio and video of the person in life, or even a broadcast of the funeral or memorial service for those unable to attend. In summary, obituaries are a critical tool to memorialize the dead and inform the living.