Newspaper obituaries, which had become somewhat of a dying (sic) art, are increasingly back in vogue.
The Scottish Daily Express now carries a full page of them on Saturdays, and weeklies, such as the Northern Times, in Sutherland, regularly devote half a page or more to chronicling the life of those who have passed on.
Aberdeen-based freelance journalist, Alison Shaw, is now carving out a new career in this specialised field, after 35 years in newspapers, television and PR.
Alison produces obits for national newspapers and also does private commissions.
In an interview in Aberdeen glossy magazine, Trend, she says: “Some people think 18th century newspaper obituaries were the forerunners of today’s fascination with celebrity. Obituaries aren’t about death – they’re about life and the sign of a good obituary is it’s about someone you’d wish you’d known.”
And she reveals: “When I mention to people I am an obituarist, they find it mildly amusing. They’re vaguely shocked initially, then slightly worried if they develop so much as a cough in your company and start wondering what you’d say about them. But almost immediately they realise what a fascinating job it is. People have the most amazing stories and there’s no such thing as an ordinary life.”