Dec. 14th, 2007

slyvermont: (ritaskeeter)
On Wednesday, I covered my second funeral for The Times Argus. Here it is.

I realized as I sat in the pews that covering funerals is not something I learned in journalism school. What is appropriate? Do I wear black? Do I interview people? Do I sit up front, or toward the back?

This particularly troubled me when I went to the reception afterwards. I mean, do I interview people – or just write about the memorial service?

The couple that died – what a sad story. They died last week. Their house caught on fire, they were in the basement, and couldn’t get out. The stairs were burning. There was no outside door.

The guy I had met a few times – we both took a Hebrew class through the synagogue. It turns out that he was a really interesting person. He was the state auditor of accounts in the early 60s, the first Jew to win a statewide office in Vermont. He was also a Democrat who won, which was very rare in Vermont back in those days. He served on a ton of statewide organizations, and was a professor at a local college.

In the end, I did interview people at the reception. I stuck to either people I knew, or people I was introduced to by people I knew. And politicians – I knew that former Vermont Gov. Phil Hoff would talk. (There were 2 governors at the funeral). But I didn’t interview any family members.

The rabbi left a message on my voice mail this morning saying my story was good, and well-received by the family. Whew.

In other article news, here’s another story I wrote recently, a book review and interview with Julia Alvarez. I loved this book, so if you’re looking for a fun read, consider it.

And I am not, repeat, not, looking forward to the nor’easter coming on Sunday and the 10 to 20 inches of snow it will bring.

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