Year: 2022 Source: Crisis. (2021). 43(2):83-89. SIEC No: 20220294

Background: Australia’s Mindframe guidelines provide media professionals with advice on ways to safely report on suicide. Aims: We aimed to examine the extent to which Australian newspaper articles on Robin Williams’ suicide conformed to the Mindframe recommendations. Method: We searched Factiva for relevant articles appearing in Australian newspapers during the 5 months following Williams’ death on August 11, 2014. We retrieved the text of these articles from Factiva and, wherever possible, sourced scanned copies from the National Library of Australia. Trained coders rated the articles for quality, using a 10-item coding framework derived from the Mindframe guidelines. Results: Our search yielded 303 articles. In general, there were high levels of adherence to the Mindframe guidelines, with 67% of articles adhering to at least eight (80%) of the Mindframe guidelines. Limitations: We may have missed some articles and the coders’ task involved some subjective judgments. Conclusion: Australian newspaper reporting of Robin Williams’ suicide was largely consistent with the Mindframe guidelines. In particular, there was good adherence to recommendations designed to minimize the risk of imitative acts, which is positive. The poorer performance of articles in terms of recommendations to do with public education about suicide may be a missed opportunity.