BuzzFeed News: A Woman’s Obituary For Her Husband Who Died From The Coronavirus Is Going Viral. “David W. Nagy didn’t usually like it when his wife talked politics, but when he died last month from COVID-19 she channeled her devastation and anger into his short obituary, blaming his death on President Trump, the governor of Texas, and ‘the many ignorant, self-centered and selfish people’ who refuse to wear a mask. ‘Dave did everything he was supposed to do, but you did not,’ Stacey Nagy, 72, wrote in the six-paragraph tribute to her 79-year-old husband, who died on July 22. ‘Shame on all of you, and may Karma find you all!'”
Thanks to Harriet S. for emailing me and correcting my screwup. Being human, I will mess up, but I try to let you know ASAP when I do. KHOU: VERIFY: Houston newspaper did publish 43 pages of obituaries, but it was a quarterly advertising section. “Thousands of people have been sharing social media posts that say the Houston Chronicle’s obituary section was 43 pages over the weekend. Many are linking the death announcements to the rise in local coronavirus cases. The problem is that conclusion is based on bad information.”
Newsweek: Texas Newspaper Prints 43-Page Obituary Section As Coronavirus Deaths Soar. “The section reportedly features around 900 obituaries, according to Twitter user @ShawnDCstudent, who noted: ‘By my calculations 43 pages x 21 on each page that equals 903 obituaries.'”
New York Times: Ola Mae Spinks, Who Helped Preserve a Slave Archive, Dies at 106. “Ola Mae Spinks, a librarian and descendant of slaves who went to the Library of Congress in 1972 to bring order to a vast but scattered archive of interviews with former slaves, thus helping to preserve them for scholars, died on June 16 at her home in Southfield, Mich. She was 106.”
Washington Post: First female African American senior zookeeper at Baltimore zoo dies of covid-19. “There was magic and greatness when Mary Wilson interacted with the animals. Those who know her describe how a sick and immobile gorilla stirred for the first time in three months after she walked into a room. A chimpanzee that had just bitten off a woman’s ear hung his head in shame upon seeing her. And an elephant that had been roaming wildly through the zoo obediently marched back into his cage when she appeared. ‘She took time to sit and watch animals, enjoying the world from their perspective, not ours,’ said Mike McClure, who worked with Wilson as a zookeeper at the Maryland Zoo. ‘I never once got the feeling that Mary looked down on them or in any way saw them as pets. She treated the animals like equals.'”
CNN: Writing about the dead during a pandemic: ‘They are not a statistic or data point’. “Obituary desks are expanding all across the United States as newspapers strain to capture the scope of the loss from the pandemic. The papers are honoring individual lives through short stories, features and special presentations. And in doing so, they are converting the death toll statistics of Covid-19 into deeply human stories.”
Boston Globe: A stark reality: Sunday’s Boston Globe runs 16 pages of death notices. “With coronavirus cases surging in Massachusetts, the Boston Sunday Globe offered a stark reminder of the death toll that COVID-19 is taking on the state, with the paper running 16 pages worth of death notices in the print edition. For comparison, on the same Sunday last year — April 21, 2019 — the Globe ran seven pages of death notices, according to an archive of the paper.”
The Guardian: So long and thanks for all the fish. “I am sorry to have to inform readers of the Guardian’s long-running Ask Jack column that its much-loved author, Jack Schofield, died on Tuesday. Jack was taken to hospital on Friday night following a heart attack and died on Tuesday afternoon.” I wrote for Jack several times in the early 2000s. He always had a kind word and I always looked forward to working with him. I’ll miss him.
BusinessWire: Ancestry® Debuts the World’s Largest Digital Archive of Searchable Online Obituaries and Death Announcements, Powered by Cutting-Edge Artificial Intelligence (PRESS RELEASE). “Today, Ancestry®, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, is releasing the new Newspapers.com Obituary Collection and announcing an upgrade to its U.S. Obituary Collection, adding to what is now the world’s largest, searchable digital archive of over 262 million worldwide obituaries and death announcements, containing almost 1 billion searchable family members.”
New York Times: John Rothman, Who Made The Times’s Archives Accessible, Dies at 95. “John Rothman, who in an era before Google conceived and helped develop The New York Times Information Bank, a revolutionary system that let computer users easily find journalism by The Times and dozens of other publications, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 95.”
Playbill: Betty Corwin, Creator of the Theater on Film and Tape Archive, Dies at 98. “If you have watched a Broadway show from before you were born, you probably have Betty Corwin to thank. The force of nature behind the Theater on Film and Tape Archive, who earned a special Tony Award for her efforts in 2001, died September 10 at the age of 98.”
New York Times: Dr. Donald Lindberg, 85, Dies; Opened Medical Research to the World. “Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg, who as director of the National Library of Medicine — the world’s largest — computerized its vast holdings and made them accessible to researchers around the world, died on Aug. 17 at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. He was 85.”
The Daily Beast: The New York Times Is Out to Make Its Obituaries Less White and Less Male. “In recent months, the newspaper has been quietly deploying a statistical demographic tool to help assure that at least 30 percent of its obituaries feature women, with ambitions to raise the obit percentage for racial and sexual- and gender-identity minorities as well.”
Lexology: Obituary Piracy Assessed. “Thomson v. Afterlife Network Inc., 2019 FC 545, is a Federal Court decision in which the Court considers the existence of copyright in obituaries used in an e-commerce context. DT was the representative plaintiff in a class action lawsuit claiming that posted obituaries and photographs, that were authored and taken by the plaintiff and other class members without their permission and thereby Afterlife infringed the copyright and the moral rights of the class members.” This was in Canada.
New York Times: Overlooked No More: Karen Sparck Jones, Who Established the Basis for Search Engines. “When most scientists were trying to make people use code to talk to computers, Karen Sparck Jones taught computers to understand human language instead. In so doing, her technology established the basis of search engines like Google.”