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Alana Baranick
Alana Baranick, chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers, won the 2005 American Society of Obituary Editors Distinguished Writing Award in the Obituary Category, an honor that has been given to only three journalists since the late 1980s.
She wrote news obituaries for The Plain Dealer from 1992-2008 and was known for the weekly "A Life Story" feature that she started in 2003. Alana currently writes feature obituaries called "The Dash Between" for the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and Medina County Gazette on a freelance basis. She wrote her first obituary in the mid-1980s for the Elyria daily, where she handled multiple beats. She began writing obits for Patch.com in December 2010.  Alana is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers (www.obitwriters.org) and administrator of the group's Obituary Forum blog at www.obituaryforum.blogspot.com. She posts obits she has written about Ohioans on her ObitsOhio blog at www.obitsohio.blogspot.com. Alana is the instructor for an online journalism course called "On the Beat: Writing Obituaries" for Poynter Institute's News University (www.newsu.org). She writes occasional Death Beat columns for the National Newspaper Association's monthly publication, Publisher's Auxiliary. She has been featured in several journalism textbooks and in the nonfiction book "Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries" written by Marilyn Johnson. Alana has given presentations about obituaries and obit writing at state and national conventions for journalists, funeral directors and personal historians. She also speaks to smaller groups, including genealogical societies, service organizations and church groups. Visit Alana's website at www.deathbeat.com for details.
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