Year: 2024 Source: Journalism, (2021), 22(6), 1375– 1392. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884919841920 SIEC No: 20240796
Suicide has long been a major category of news, but conceptions of newsworthiness and ethical approaches to coverage of suicide have changed dramatically over the past century. This interpretive textual analysis of journalism textbooks published from 1894 to 2016 traces how discourse on suicide coverage shifted with professional practice and social conceptions over the 20th century. Suicide was a popular genre of sensational human-interest story featured in early journalism textbooks, but many contemporary texts barely acknowledge suicide, portraying it as a generally private matter requiring characteristics of prominence, impact, or unusualness to make news. Findings suggest that the discursive pendulum has swung too far from the exploitative coverage promoted at the turn of the 20th century to the present-day marginalization of a significant social and public health issue.