Thursday, October 06, 2016

Brenda Schmid: What the Joplin Globe charges for obituaries is obscene

I have been fortunate enough I have never had to deal with the Joplin Globe on the cost of printing an obituary of a loved one.

So it came as quite a shock to me when I read Joplin resident Brenda Schmid's Facebook post last week about how much the Globe is asking to print obituaries.

The business of cashing in on grief has angered me over the years and was the primary reason I began publishing Inside Joplin Obituaries in November 2013. Since then, the blog has published 3,944 obituaries and recently passed one million visitors.

The idea behind Inside Joplin Obituaries is that everyone has a story and it deserves to be told. It should not depend on whether or not the family has enough money.

Brenda Schmid's Facebook post is printed below:

I have written my mother's obituary, and have found the process with placing the obituary with the Joplin Globe to be quite disconcerting. 

How do you sum up 88 1/2 years of living and loving of my mother's life into small bits and do it justice? If I write 100 words or less, the bill will be $155. Try summing up a person's entire life in 100 words or less. It is virtually impossible. 

If I were to write up to 200 words, the cost is $205. If I were to write up to 300 words, the cost goes up to $380. 

I think the amounts they charge are obscene. But, I WILL write an obituary and place it in the Joplin Globe, simply because many of her elderly friends will have no way of knowing when the services will be, if not for reading it in the Globe. 

Thankfully, my friend, Randy Turner, will post it with no charge, because he knows in his heart that it is wrong to charge bereaved family members even a cent just to let people know about the death of a loved one. 

What a sad commentary of a pitiful excuse of a newspaper to charge such exorbitant prices just to let people know their loved one has passed. What it this world coming to when the greed of the local rag is so exploitative? Sad, indeed.


Vicky Peoples said...

So sad,there are people who have no way of paying for this along with funeral expenses.What are these people thinking??

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with. This is sooo sad!!!! What about us that are left behind that can't afford it???? In a time of grieving!!!! Life is supposed to be wonderful but it is ALL about money now!!!!

Anonymous said...

Disgraceful that a newspaper take advantage of the families of a deceased person! The Joplin Globe's extremely high cost for obituaries really shows the level at which they will go to grab every penny they can. On the other hand, The Columbus News Report, which is in Columbus, KS does NOT charge for obituaries. The owner does not believe in making a hardship for people by taking advantage to earn a few extra bucks. Thank you for your kindness Mr. Hiatt. Shame on you Carol, for being editor and letting this outragious practice to continue.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, the Globe stopped publishing death notices that included basic information on family, employment and services. Those notices were always free and the basic information was enough that you could identify the person and their family plus know when the services would be. Nothing big or fancy. If you wanted a full obituary, you paid for it. While I don't know the cost, I'm sure it wasn't anything like it is now.
An obituary should not be considered an advertisement. It should be something to honor the deceased. It should also serve as a record for future generations.
The Globe is an embarrassment. It doesn't cover news. It is full of ads and clips of AP articles. What an over priced waste.

Anonymous said...

Yes we only put in the Globe what is free. not much. The big cities were charging many years ago. So we are lucky.

Mom said...

We only put in the Globe what is free. Which is not much but friends will know they died. The large cities have charged for years. We put the large add in the local paper it cost a little less here in Neosho.

Anonymous said...

this is why so many people die and no one ever knows it because no one can afford to publish it! Really sad to have the burden of a funeral and etc. and the globe wants to take advantage and could care less how people suffer.....The sad part is we pay a fortune to order the globe monthly and then they take advantage of a death....Its really sad!!!!

Anonymous said...

We are lucky? Just because "big cities" were charging many years ago, does not mean you have to stoop to their level and be cold hearted. Many people even loose children. Wth is wrong with you people there?

Anonymous said...

How much are death notices?

Anonymous said...

Death notices are $25 now. They are no longer free either

Linda Harryman said...

When the Globe announced they were going to start charging for the obituaries, my mother along with two other ladies, Carole Harpool and Sharon Cogbill, collected signatures to protest the decision. As I remember, they collected 4,400 signatures and had a day long signature drive at my moms home, complete with flashing sign (thank you to the late Rosalie Burt for that donation!) They secured a meeting with the publisher at the time, Dan Chiodo, and were thanked for their time and dismissed.

I often teased my mom that when she passed, I would put in the ad "Betty Harryman died today....see the Big Nickel for details." When she did pass a couple of years ago we did place a nice obituary in the Globe but did a more detailed version on the Parker Mortuary web site.

The business decision of charging for obituaries is understandable in many ways. The days of having a paper delivered to my home is at risk, which I dread as I have been a consistent Globe reader ever since I could read the words. I do appreciate the idea that we can put in as much or as little as we like. When my dad passed in 1995, we did not get to tell about the man....just the basic details. I don't know what the answer is but I have come to appreciate the stories of who the people are instead of what they have left behind. I just hate that it is not an option for one and all.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised it has taken the readers and posters here 16 years to tune into this. The Globe started charging for obits on January 1, 2000. 16 years later, it continues. Don't blame Carol either, it was not her idea. This idea originated with Ed Simpson during a brainstorming idea on how to generate more revenue for the paper. His idea is exactly what has been said here, larger publications are charging. If I had it explained to me correctly, he said the cost of the obit will be sent on to the funeral home, who will add it on to the cost of the service and customer will never notice.
To complain, get upset or bellyache the fact 16 years later is a case of people not paying attention. If you don't want to pay for an obit, don't. However, our family policy has been this, if we are paying for it, then we will write it and it will be published verbatim as it is submitted. Any efforts to turn it into a plug and place style obit will result in breach of agreement and we will not pay.
No one is forcing you into purchasing an obit.
You have options, either pay or don't pay. But remember, you get what you pay for.

kitty chiwawa said...

One reason many don't realize how much it costs to put the obit in the Globe is because the funeral home pays it and then charges you for it for their services. When you're dealing with the loss of a loved one, as we did with my father two years ago, you like not having to deal with all the details if someone else will step up and do it for you. It's not nice that it's so expensive. Thankful for Randy's site that does this for free! I check it everyday, sometimes twice daily for news of the passing of friends and loved ones, or even acquaintances so that I can pass the info on to others that may not be aware of it. It's a great service, thank you Randy.

Brenda Schmid said...

Kitty Chiwawa, 1:58 PM, stated that the reason why they charge so much is that the funeral home paid it, and then charged us more. That was NOT the case with my mother. I paid the entire fee myself, and did not go through the funeral home. Mother was cremated, and we are having a memorial service at her church tomorrow.
If you are following this post, and appreciate Randy's postings of obituaries for free, please consider thanking him by paying him the yearly $30 subscription. I gladly pay a subscription to him every October. It's worth every penny. Thanks, Randy, for all you do.

Former Globe Employee said...

The Joplin Globe has to get its money from somewhere, folks. The Globe is expected to turn a nice profit for its owner, Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. Papers which are locally owned, such as the Webb City Sentinel, still provide free obituaries. The problem with the Globe charging for obituaries is that it loses its unofficial status as the newspaper of record in Joplin and Jasper County. This is not important to CNHI, which cares only about making money. That said, CNHI is a much better steward of its properties than newspaper groups such as Gatehouse, which bleeds its papers dry and then moves on.

Anonymous said...

I work for a funeral home in the KC area. It's much worse here. I know the newspaper has to make a profit, but not as much as they get for obits! $.50 a word is a bit much!