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50 years in 50 weeks: 1998: No obits

by BAR staff

Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive
Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive  

The Bay Area Reporter's "No obits" cover from August 13, 1998 is probably our most famous. We continue to get inquiries about it 23 years later. The backstory: Our news editor at the time, Mike Salinas, was surprised as the week went on and no one had submitted an obituary. Usually, by this time in the AIDS epidemic, we would have several. He then assigned reporter Timothy Rodrigues to write about it. As Rodrigues recounted in a 2018 Guest Opinion piece on the 20th anniversary of the story, he had just been diagnosed with HIV himself. It was important to point out — and the article did — that just because the B.A.R. did not receive any obituaries that week did not mean that no one died due to AIDS complications. But it was a ray of hope for so many of our readers. To view the issue, click here.


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