I am a few weeks in at my new job as the obituary writer for The Reading Eagle newspaper. I know, I know, the job sounds depressing. That was my first reaction as well and I initially wasn’t very excited about my first job post-graduation.
First of all: death. Everyone is uncomfortable talking about it, but my job is actually positive. I get to read about the most impressive accomplishments these men and women have achieved in their lives and all their great and great-great-grandchildren who love them.
My job title is also misleading because I don’t actually write the obituaries. Family members often write them and funeral directors e-mail them to me. I edit the obituaries for AP style rules and style rules that are particular to the newspaper. I am also a fact-checker in a sense. For example, I check that a World War II veteran was born within dates that makes serving in the war possible.
Obituary writer is also an interesting position because although I work in the editorial department, I mainly work in the computer program AdBooker since obits are technically classified death obits.
Yes, my busy days at the paper rely on people dying, but I enjoy editing the obituaries. They make me wonder what I will accomplish in my life.
I never thought that I would be an obituary writer after college. I was hoping for a more exciting job title like investigative reporter or something where I could write more than I am now, but I am happy to have the opportunity to be working in the journalism industry. I applied to marketing positions and other jobs related to my communication major, but more than anything I wanted to end up at a newspaper or magazine, so I’m very thankful to be where I am.
One of my professors started out as an obituary writer and she has accomplished so much in her life as a journalist, author, and professor. So I know that this is only the first stepping-stone to my journalism career ahead of me.
I started at the bottom of journalism in high school and again in college and I know I can work my way back to the top to one day be an editor-in-chief again. But for now I’ll be working as hard as I can to shine as an obituary writer and welcome the next steps in my career that come my way.