Year: 2022 Source: Crisis. (2021). 42(4): 309-313. SIEC No: 20220421

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 period were coded for compliance to Mindframe suicide reporting guidelines. Social media responses (number of shares and number of comments) were collected via Facebook. Results: From the sample of 275 articles, articles were compliant with a median of seven of the nine recommendations. Articles compliant with more than seven recommendations were shared more frequently (median: 93 vs. 38 shares, p = .017) but no difference was observed in the number of comments (median: 0 vs. 0, p = .340). Limitations: Other factors associated with individual events and articles are also likely to contribute to the response on social media. Although no difference in the number of comments was observed, the nature of these comments may differ. Conclusion: Improved understanding of how to maximize dissemination of positive messages may help minimize contagion effects.