Glad you asked: Why are obituaries printed in the D section of the Grand Forks Herald?

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Q: Why are the obituaries printed in the D section of the Herald? It seems wrong to put them in the sports section.

Throughout the years, obituaries have been printed in various sections of the Herald –sometimes in the first section and often in the second. In the past year, however, changes at the Herald have prompted their placement in the D section.

On Wednesdays, the Herald's obituaries are published in the A section, for example. There isn't room in the second section of the Herald section on Wednesdays, since there are only two sections that day and sports share space with the classified ads.

Technically, the D section is not just a sports section, although the first two or three pages are dedicated to sports. The Saturday obituaries are placed there due to timing issues and space availability.

"It's really the only place we can guarantee that we have multiple pages, back to back, that obituaries can placed if we have a large number of them," said Herald Publisher Korrie Wenzel. "At times, we have an abundance of obituaries, and since the deadline to accept them is 2 p.m., we often don't know how many we'll have until late in the afternoon. The B section is generally mapped out and usually completed by that time on Fridays. The D section, because it includes sports, is usually the latest to be finished."


The abundance of obituaries on Wednesdays and Saturdays comes after the Herald reduced its print days to two per week.

"What we're finding is that when people purchase obituaries, they prefer them in the print editions. But since we have a rather late deadline to accept them for our print editions, we don't know exactly how many we will have until after the first sections are essentially laid out," Wenzel said. "And during the coronavirus pandemic, we have cut back on sports pages, since fewer sports are happening. It's allowed us to have extra space, but usually only in the D section."

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