A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, I noted in a Henninger Helpful Hint that the use of a U.S. flag in an obit is a sign of respect for a deceased veteran. I pointed out that the flag art thus used should itself be respectful, not a showy or silly piece of clip art. Rachel Courtney responded with this mockup showing how the obits page is handled at the Las Cruces Bulletin.
I like the use of the U. S. flag here… a lot. But I have some other thoughts, placed below the page here.
1. I think part of the commitment of a newspaper to its community is to call something what it is…straight out. This is the obituaries page. The “Neighbors We’ve Lost” header here is euphemistic. Makes me wonder what other pages are called in the Bulletin.
2. The U.S. flag behind one name does not make me feel obligated to run something else—in this case, the clouds pix—behind other names. I think of the flag photo as something extra that we give to the memory of someone who gave something extra for his/her country…and for us.
3. I do like the packaging of each obit in a modular form. This is a sign of respect for the family of the deceased: It allows them to cut out the obit in one piece so it can be preserved in the family Bible.
4. This is certainly a different approach. And it has some advantages. Not sure I’d want to do this in any of my client papers, though…it feels over-designed.
What are your thoughts? Would you do this? What would you do—what are you doing—to place a flag in an obit?