The Show on KJZZ

Tucson journalist comes out of retirement to pen obituaries for community's lost loved ones

Published: Tuesday, December 28, 2021 - 11:30am
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Historians believe that obituaries were first published in ancient Rome and that they became a regular part of publications in the mid-1800s.

The form has changed dramatically since then, but its purpose hasn’t — to inform the public about someone’s death. The standard form is to include the basics on where the person was born and went to school and whether they had children and grandchildren.

But the greater impact of obituaries comes from its storytelling nature, with paragraphs that give us true insight into the person who has passed away. And we’re seeing more of that right now, as Susan Orlean is penning an obit column for the New Yorker. And the New York Times is doubling down with Overlooked, a feature that highlights lost lives that were not documented.

That’s part of what drew Ann Brown back into journalism after retiring. She is now writing obituaries for the Arizona Daily Star. The Show spoke with her to learn about their purpose and what drew her back.

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