The past few years have seen a reckoning across media, with many voices once relegated to the margins being given a platform.
Beyond recognition for the living, a space for those who achieved much in life but were forgotten in death has been opened by The New York Times — the recently introduced obituary column “Overlooked.”
“Overlooked” is an editorial project and gender initiative produced by the paper’s "Obituaries" desk. It highlights notable women never memorialized in print at their deaths.
The Times' notes that it has printed tens of thousands of obituaries, including those of opera singers, inventors and heads of state, since its founding in 1851. Many of those obits highlighted the work of white men, while ignoring women and people of color.
This week, the Times announced it would move these remembrances from the printed word to the TV screen. Working in partnership with Anonymous Content, Paramount Television and 3Dot Productions, the Times’ series will feature 10 episodes a season, with each episode telling the story of a memorable woman.
So far, columns have featured women like Ida B. Wells, who reported on lynchings in the South in the late 19th century, and Qiu Jin, a feminist poet and revolutionary from China. Jin was beheaded in 1907 when she was charged with conspiring to overthrow the Manchu-led Qing government.
The Times has not announced who will be highlighted in the upcoming series.
The Times has recently been exploring ways to extend its popular digital content to the small screen. Earlier this month, the company announced its podcast The Daily would be transformed into a FX series called The Weekly. Over the past several years, the company has been lauded for its ability to attract digital subscribers and develop new ways of delivering content to readers.
With the creation of an “Overlooked” TV series, the newspaper doubles down on its faith in storytelling, finally paying tribute to impressive women who were not deemed important enough to grace its pages. Now, the series will likely reach an audience that goes beyond its current readership.
The episodes will each be written and directed by women.