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10 Things I Learned From Editing Obituaries for Two Years

I recently wrapped up a two-year gig writing and editing for my university alumni magazine. Class notes and obituaries are the bread-and-butter of alumni magazines, and editing them is often a thankless role. At 10,000+ words, or approximately 250 dead people per issue, a strong stomach—for grief of the emotional and copy-editing varieties—is a necessity. This means obits generally get relegated to the youngest person on staff. Obits are one of the most-read sections of alumni magazines, and editing them is by far the least sexy job. Often it felt like this part of the production process would never end (if you think about it, it doesn’t), and mostly I would try to forget about them once an issue wrapped. But, literally hundreds of thousands of words have a way of leaving their mark on you. READ MORE