Challenging the Taboo: Reporting suicide effectively

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Paul Thompson is the Group Executive Editor of Fairfax Media, New Zealand's largest media company. He was formerly editor of The Press in Christchurch. As a journalist and editor, he has been closely involved in coverage of suicide as a public health issue.


Published in: Health & Medicine, Spiritual
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Challenging the Taboo: Reporting suicide effectively

  1. 1. Challenging the taboo: reporting suicide effectively September 11, 2008
  2. 2. News judgment Is it new? Is it interesting? Is it important? The human factor? Does it affect real people? What will the impact be? How do we tell the whole story?
  3. 3. What the protocol says:“Individual suicides may be inherently newsworthy and need to be reported. In such cases, a responsible approach will consider the potential for news coverage to both contribute to cause further harm and to communicate positive messages that may save lives.”
  4. 4. An editor’s approach Call a suspected suicide a “suspected suicide” Work with the Coroner – and families Be careful around placement, headlines, detail Provide mental health information Link readers to support systems Provide balance and context

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