Even in age of endless Facebook statuses and Twitter updates, a newspaper obituary still holds value for families and readers alike. For a grieving family, it can provide a lasting record of a loved one’s life while also serving as a way to inform those outside that person’s inner circle of close friends and relatives.
By compiling all of the obituaries from the previous month into a brand new “In Loving Memory” print product, The World newspaper in Coos Bay, Ore. has created a tangible way to remember those in its community. The paper plans to publish the print compilation on the second Saturday of each month.
“The response from family members, funeral homes and our readers has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Mike Hrycko, The World’s director of advertising and circulation. “In addition to our daily obituaries, this product provides a nice keepsake for friends and family members and we believe general reader interest as well.”
The first edition of “In Loving Memory” debuted in January as a trial run with no advertising. The compilation consisted of 16 tabloid pages and more than 60 obituaries.
“We intentionally held off selling into the first publication because we wanted to show our advertisers what we were doing before we asked them to commit to it,” Hrycko said. “Since then the feedback has been positive and we have several display advertisers onboard with annual commitments.”
For the second edition, The World increased the page count to 24 and included display advertising. All the obits that appear in print are posted throughout the month online as well.
The idea for the special print compilation came from the paper’s advertising department.
“We try to approach things from a readers’ point of view and create things that people will want. Inherently, what works for our readers works for our advertisers,” Hrycko said. “Once we had the concept figured out we were able to move on the implementation pretty quickly. From initial conversation to printed product was roughly 60 days.”
While the industry continues to move toward becoming digital-first, publishers can still take advantage of the benefits the print platform continues to offer. The World currently prints 6,200 copies of the paper Monday through Thursday with a Saturday circulation of 6,800.
“A product like this encompasses everything that separates our printed product from our digital doppelganger,” Hrycko said. “It’s something our readers can hold in their hands, browse through at their own pace and, most importantly, can hold onto for years.”