A new study found that media organizations are unaware of guidelines developed in 2001 for covering suicides.
The study was conducted by researchers led by Arielle Sheftall, principal investigator at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio.
She and her colleagues analyzed news reports about two celebrity suicides in mid-2018. The study covered 10 print newspapers—three national and seven local. Among them were The New York Times, Los Angel Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.
The reports covered back-to back-suicides of Kate Spade, a fashion icon, and Anthony Bourdain, a celebrity chef, between June 6 and June 11. The reporting on Bourdain’s suicide was found to be more in line with the guidelines; reports on Spade’s death were highly criticized. The study found that most of the newspapers followed fewer than seven of the 14 guidelines, and six of the guidelines were rarely followed.
Two guidelines were not followed by any of the newspapers: Share a hopeful message that suicide is preventable and convey that suicide behavior can be reduced with mental health support and treatment.
To read the full article: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2753786
Sheftall AH, Tissue JL, Schlagbaum P, et al. Newspaper Adherence to Media Reporting Guidelines for the Suicide Deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(11):e1914517. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.14517