Death, Grief, and the Internets

ABC News recently reported about the practice of some funeral homes to webcast funerals, in a story with the somewhat awkward title: “Funeral Webcasts Gain in Popularity.” Less popular by far was the decision by a newspaper to have one of its reporters live blog the funeral of a 3-year-old boy killed in a tragic accident with Twitter. Here’s an excerpt from this account:

Mike McPhee, a Denver Post reporter who covered the service for his paper, without Twitter, said he was given permission to enter the chapel by Marten’s uncle. McPhee’s understanding was that journalists could enter the chapel as long as they were not intrusive and refrained from using cameras.

But he told ABCNews.com that Morson’s Twittering was conspicuous and “highly uncalled for.”

“We’re at this emotional service and there was this reporter non-stop text messaging,” he said. “How would you not notice?”

Smith, the mortuary manager, was dismayed to hear that the service received any media coverage at all. But he was especially surprised to learn that a reporter had live blogged about it and said it constituted an invasion of privacy.