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AdvertorialsAre advertorials dead? Not even close. In fact, they have become larger than life.

My dad used to joke that he read the daily obituaries to make sure he wasn’t in them. Now I do the same. Obituaries are essentially advertorials in that you have to pay for their placement.

Recently, I noticed that the Arizona Republic had bumped up the font size on its daily obituaries. Makes sense. The only people who read the obits are of the age where they probably really need them in larger type. And more to the fact, the only people who actually read a hard copy of the newspaper likely need that larger type as well.

Chrissy Terrell, director of corporate communications and public relations for USA Today Network, said, “The obituaries across all Gannett sites are being standardized to a consistent font size and typeface which is, in most cases, larger and easier to read. In addition to the font change the flow for copy has been revised for better readability. These changes will provide a better user experience for our readers.”

Janet Traylor posted on the Phoenix PR Pros Facebook page recently that she had spoken to someone at the Republic’s obit desk, who read from a letter to the Republic’s staff: " ... fresher, more spacious and easier to read. ... will add to the keepsake value ... "

Janet explained, “She defined keepsake value as the possibility for readers to cut out and laminate, use as a bookmark, etc.”

However, this wasn’t a change solely made to become more user-friendly.

The larger, easier-to-read daily obits take up more space – so one could conclude that they should generate more revenue than the previously formatted notices.

Terrell stated, “As for payment, obituaries are paid based on number of lines of copy and in most cases the rates were adjusted to reduce the impact of a larger font.

Even so, it’s like the newspaper industry’s version of a “death tax.”

Now… can we do something about the miniscule font-size of the “TRANSACTIONS” and “BETTING LINE” columns in the sports section?

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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