Year: 2019 Source: Health Communication. (2019). DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2019.1654176 SIEC No: 20190714

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 and information package intervention to the Canary Islands media outlets was carried out. We compared the quality of media reporting at both the pre-intervention and post-intervention timepoints, and compared the quality of reporting at the post-intervention timepoint in Victoria (Australia), where media interventions have been well-resourced and running for several years. We evaluated 339 suicide news articles: 38 from the pre-intervention period, 64 from the post-intervention period, and 237 from Victoria. News articles showed a very low degree of adherence to WHO recommendations, especially to those recommendations thought to have a protective effect. Post-intervention news articles showed better adherence than pre-intervention ones, but lower than those of Victoria, where constant interventions have been developed for years. We conclude that adherence to WHO recommendations is low. Simple interventions aimed at media professionals can improve adherence. However, constant and complex interventions seem to be more effective.