Examining adherence to suicide reporting guidelines in initial reports on high-profile celebrity suicides

Background: Research has found varying adherence by media professionals to recommendations for reporting on suicide. Aims: We compared adherence to recommendations for what to do and what not to do when reporting on suicide in initial reports of high-profile celebrity suicides in major media outlets. Method: A total of 100 articles published in news outlets during 2004–2018 and reporting on[…]

Celebrity suicide: Media recommendations for reporting suicide not followed

Background: Increased suicides following media coverage of celebrities’ suicide deaths have been documented in several countries. Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide were published to provide guidance for media professionals when covering suicide. Research indicates guidelines have been poorly followed. Aim: We aimed to determine whether the recommendations were similarly observed when studying two online news organizations’ coverage of a celebrity’s[…]

Changes in suicide reporting quality and deaths in Ontario following publication of national media guidelines

Background: Media guidelines can influence suicide-related reporting quality and may impact suicide rates. Aim: Our study aimed to investigate the quality of suicide-related reporting after the release of the 2009 Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) guidelines and their impact on suicides. Method: A random sample of suicide-related articles (n = 988) were retrieved from 12 major Canadian print/online publications (2002–2015). Articles were[…]

Social media responses to online suicide-related news articles

Background: Responsible media reporting of suicide is important to prevent contagion effects. Online media reporting is increasingly becoming the primary source of news information for many people. Aims: This study aimed to assess compliance with responsible media reporting guidelines, and whether social media responses were associated with compliance. Method: A random sample of Australian digital news articles over a 9-month[…]

Preventing suicide: A resource for media professionals. Update 2017

This resource booklet briefly summarizes the current evidence on the impact of media reporting of suicide, and provides information for media professionals about how to report on suicide, recognizing that there are times when a suicide will need to be reported on the grounds of its newsworthiness. The booklet makes suggestions about how best to[…]

Suicide mortality in Canada after the death of Robin Williams, in the context of high-fidelity to suicide reporting guidelines in the Canadian media

Evidence suggests that suicide mortality increases after high-profile suicide deaths. Indeed, suicide in the United States increased disproportionately after the suicide by suffocation of well-known comedian Robin Williams in August 2014. Such increases are often attributed to irresponsible media coverage of the suicide contributing to “copycat suicides.” However, recent research indicates that the[…]

The suicide reporting toolkit: For journalists and journalism educators

There is broad agreement within all global guidelines on suicide that key areas to consider include: method and location; copycat behaviour; appropriateness of language and word placement in a story; sensationalizing or romanticising suicide; celebrity cases; unusual situations like murder-suicide; use of video, audio and social media and the inclusion of helpline information. Journalists have[…]

Assessing the quality of media reporting of suicide deaths in Bangladesh against World Health Organization guidelines

Background: Media reporting of suicide events has thus far gone without sufficient scrutiny in Bangladesh. Aim: The purpose of this study was to assess the quality of newspaper reporting of suicides in Bangladesh against international guidelines. Methods: We used content analysis to assess the quality of suicide reporting in six daily newspapers in Bangladesh. The newspapers were hand-searched between November[…]

Suicide coverage in the digital press media: Adherence to World Health Organization guidelines and effectiveness of different interventions aimed at media professionals

This study evaluated the characteristics of suicide news articles in the digital press, their adherence to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, and the effectiveness of interventions. We assessed adherence, avoidability, frequency and typology of suicide news over a six-month period in the four main digital media outlets of the Canary Islands (Spain). A brief training[…]

Media guidelines: Portrayal of people living with mental illness and mental health issues in Aotearoa

These guidelines will equip journalists with the confidence and understanding to report on mental illness and mental health issues safely, accurately and respectfully. One in five Kiwis will experience a mental health problem this year, and more than half of us will go through distress or mental illness at some point in our lives.