Do You Read the Obituaries Section of a Newspaper?


As I was reading the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer the other day, it struck me that I tend to read the paper in the same order each time.

I always start with the Sports section, followed by the Business section, then the Health section, Local News, National News, Editorial/Opinion (Currents), Entertainment (Live-Life-Love), and then Real Estate. I never/rarely look at the Auto section or read the Obituaries. And since there’s no Calvin and Hobbes, I don’t look at the comics either.

When I am finished reading the paper, I usually do the Sudoku. Fortunately these puzzles seem to be fairly easy ones; I’ve tried the crossword puzzle and I typically just know one or two of the answers.

Once I was aware of my reading routine, I thought I would observe/ask others about how they read the paper. Perhaps what stood out to me the most related to the Obituaries section. As I noted above, I never look at that section, but for many people that is the section they go to first. Admittedly, there seems to be a slight age bias in this observation, with older people being the ones who seem to place more emphasis on the Obits.

And that got me thinking why this is.

It seems as if most people read the obits to see if they know anyone and find out the details about the funeral.

On the rare occasion when I happen to glance through the Obits, I usually am not looking to see if I know anyone, but rather looking at the ages of the deceased and hoping that no one my age or younger is listed. This seems to boost my confidence that I’ve still got some living to do.

Perhaps that’s why I avoid reading the obits, since it may get me thinking about end of life issues that I would prefer not to have to think about on a weekly basis.

My guess/hope is that I will never be an Obituary reader; between the Sports, Business, and Health sections, and then Sudoku there’s only so much time I can commit to the newspaper. It’s Sunday after all, and I am sure there’s some golf tournament on TV…

Closing thoughts: I know I am biased, but I believe the Philly Ink is the best daily local newspaper in the country, the Wall Street Journal is the best national newspaper (even though I usually disagree with their editorial pages), the New York Times is the best blend of a national and local paper, and USA Today is the easiest newspaper to read.

Leave a Reply