The Obit Writers

Julian Worricker explores an unsung area of popular journalism, the craft of the newspaper obituary writer.

Describing themselves as biographers, historians and detectives, Worricker visits newspaper newsrooms to meet the men and women charged with recording an entire life in just a few words.

Obituary Editors, past and present, including Anthony Howard from The Times, Andrew Mckie from The Daily Telegraph and Phil Osborne at The Guardian illustrate the skills and sensibilities required for the job and the editorial challenges they face when uncovering hidden pasts.

Behind the scenes, reporter Julian opens a filing cabinet containing 7,000 future obituaries for people who are still very much alive. He discovers why some British newspapers published an obituary for Myra Hindley while other newspapers chose not to.

Whether it's the result of an attraction to tales of derring-do produced by military heroes in two world wars, or the discovery of some little-known poet that you wish you could have met, obituaries are drawing a growing number of readers to newspapers and new online services, at home and abroad.

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Julian Worricker explores an unsung area of popular journalism, the craft of the newspaper obituary writer.

Describing themselves as biographers, historians and detectives, Worricker visits newspaper newsrooms to meet the men and women charged with recording an entire life in just a few words.

Obituary Editors, past and present, including Anthony Howard from The Times, Andrew Mckie from The Daily Telegraph and Phil Osborne at The Guardian illustrate the skills and sensibilities required for the job and the editorial challenges they face when uncovering hidden pasts.

Behind the scenes, reporter Julian opens a filing cabinet containing 7,000 future obituaries for people who are still very much alive. He discovers why some British newspapers published an obituary for Myra Hindley while other newspapers chose not to.

Whether it's the result of an attraction to tales of derring-do produced by military heroes in two world wars, or the discovery of some little-known poet that you wish you could have met, obituaries are drawing a growing number of readers to newspapers and new online services, at home and abroad.