The Tardy Times

Way To Go: Bay Area journalists (2005-2008)

 A supplement to The Tardy Times and The Geezer Gazoot




300 years of last writes

BACK in the day, we wrote many an obituary for the newspapers. Now, in our dotage, we prefer instead to scan them for familiar names – and to hope we don’t see any.

    Instead, the past two or three years have taken away former colleagues Fran Ortiz, Larry Beaumont, Tom Fleming, John Bryan, Mel Wax,  Harry Farrell, Bruce Hilton and too many others, including treasured friends Gina Warren, Arthur Feldman and Roger Burr.

     It got us to thinking about how the newspaper sendoffs have changed – and not changed.

     Not so long ago, editors would decide which deaths would rate a staff-written or wire service obit that would be chosen, like rest of the editorial content, for news value and space availability. 

   The flowery elegies of the 18th and 19th centuries had been succeeded very gradually by the mid-20th century's just-the-facts résumé, a format challenged in the last decade with an explosion of interest in the feature obit about exceptional non-celebrities. In the meantime, newspaper publishers learned how to harvest profit from the deaths of their subscribers. Both conventional  journalistic forms – fact and/or feature – now compete for attention with paid from-the-heart personal advertisements that aren't much different from the emotional eulogies in days of hand-set type. 

To continue our notes on newspaper

obituaries, click here.



    Bruce Hilton

BACK IN THE DAY, reporters  ended their stories with “30.” Explanations vary.
  Thirty is a two-year compilation of death reports of journalists familiar to people in  the Bay Area newspaper communities. We have included obituaries of interest to our own families and friends.
"Term Paper," at left, is a report on how newspaper obits have changed over the years.
Click on these headings:

   - Editors

   Larry Beaumont
   Tom Fleming
   August Maggy
   Floyd Fessler
   Bruce Hilton

   - Reporters and Writers
    Harry Farrell
    Dale Champion
    Mel Wax   

   - Columnists
  John Bryan
  Guy Wright
  Charles Einstein
  Bill Hall
  Frances Moffat
  Jack Rosenbaum
  and P.J. Corkery

   - Photographers:
  Paul Glines
  Joe Rosenthal
  Art Frisch
   - Other Colleagues:
  Gina Warren
  Stephanie von Buchau
  Phil Frank

- Other Obituaries
   Stan Andersen
   Roger Burr
   Arthur Feldman  
   Steve Finer  

  Written and edited by Lynn Ludlow, Thirty is an online supplement to "The Geezer Gazoot." A collection of newspaper-oriented articles, the Gazoot is aimed at other journalistic codgers. Both are spinoffs from "The Tardy Times," a collection of newspaper-style articles and updates intended for family and friends.
  For reports of interest to family and friends, see "Other Obituaries." (For the obit on Helen Collins Moran, grandmother of Paul Moran, see "Notes from Paul" in The Tardy Times pages on this Website.)
     Send comments to or 1540 Hampshire St, SF 94110. Text reprints? OK. Photos? Ask. 
    Ludlow is a 50-year veteran of newsrooms at the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner and San Jose Mercury News, among others. Now retired, he began this project to avoid work on a book.

Each page also ends with brief notes about other people in newspaper work.

September 2008

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