I think about death a lot. Almost an unhealthy amount. My own death on occasion, but mostly the deaths of others.
About how a businessman can leave home for work without a care in the world and end up in a mortuary slab with a knife in his gut a few hours later; about drunk drivers who smash into cars carrying mums and their babies; about masonry falling from a building on top of a chap as he sips a latte in the cafe below or getting hit by a bus as a teenager sends a text to his mates while crossing the road (which happens more than you think).
We deal with death every day.
Murders, car wrecks, inquests, disease, medical negligence, court cases, law suits, viruses even just obituaries for the great and the (sometimes) good in the local area.
When they come to our attention, the deaths are often sudden, sometimes brutal but always an immense trauma for the families of the victims to deal with.
Combine the loss of a loved one with the attention from the media and you can create a tense, pressurised situation.
We do the door knocks, we gather the tributes and we write the stories. If there is a court case or inquest we cover it but inevitably the stories dry up and we move on
What we write about them in our newspapers is often the last thing recorded about the people who have died.
Many families keep the tribute pieces and news stories as a lasting reminder of those they have lost.
So, for fuck's sake, at least have the decency to spell their names correctly when you come to write the stories.
Check your facts, check the spelling of their names and their ages even if you think you already know.
Jane could be spelt Jayne, how many ts in Matthew, Claire comes in many forms and even Alan has a Scottish variation.
Getting the basics right first time and every time is what maintains not only the reputation of your newspaper but also your own as a decent reporter.