Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Finding It Hard To Say Goodbye At The Times

Reporters On Their Way To The City Room In The Sky Duly Noted, But Not Much More
When a veteran reporter or editor dies, at many newspapers you will see a longer-than-usual obituary, filled with earnest quotes, a thorough recounting of the deceased's career and some measure of that person as a human being, not just a byline.
But The New York Times prefers a more dispassionate bent to its obits, preferring a chronicle over passion, even when it's for one of its own.
In this case, it was Constance Hays, who died of cancer when she was just 44. She spent most of her adult life in the Times's employ, first as a news clerk, then as a reporter in various capacities at the business and metro desks.
Despite toiling for nearly two decades and amassing untold number of bylines for the Times, her tenure only warranted 300 words in today's editions.
True, journalists labor to ensure they only cover stories and try not to become the story themselves.
But it's not hard to make a good argument for making an exception for an obituary. And when your working life has been defined by one employer, that employer should give a better sendoff than a few column inches otherwise affords.

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