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June 4, 2014, 10:58 a.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK: www.capitalnewyork.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joseph Lichterman   |   June 4, 2014

The New York Times has about 1,700 prewritten obituaries for when notable figures will die, according to a piece today in Capital New York. Using the lens of Maya Angelou’s death last week, Capital’s Johana Bhuiyan looks at how the Times readies its obituaries in the digital age.

Though it was updated after her death, Angelou’s obituary was initially written in 2011. Within minutes of her death, the obituary was posted online, along with a slideshow and a video. Times obituary editor William McDonald explained how the Times now approaches obits:

Editorially, the demands of the website and its readers — wanting the complete obit ASAP — have made it even more essential that we do as many as we can in advance, so they’re fairly ready to go when the death occurs. That includes not just the text but photos, slide shows, video features and whatever other digital bells and whistles we may want to add. All of which places some additional strains on our relatively small obituary department, but we’ve done well in meeting the challenge, I think.

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