Using the Responsible Suicide Reporting Model to increase adherence to global media reporting guidelines
Authors: Duncan, S. and Luce, A.
Journal: Journalism: theory, practice and criticism
Numerous guidelines on responsible reporting of suicide are available to journalists globally, offering advice on best practice regarding approaches and suitability of content.
Whilst their advice is compelling and legitimate, their use is uneven at best. With a suicide death every 40 seconds worldwide, it is imperative journalists understand and recognise the best ethical practices in order to report suicide responsibly. To address these shortcomings, the authors present a model for responsible suicide reporting (RSR) that is grounded in news-work and embeds media reporting guidelines within journalistic storytelling practices. The RSR model consists of a typology of suicide narratives and ‘othering’, ethical rules and a standard of moderation. Methodologically, these typologies emerged from analysis of 159 suicide news stories published in 2018–19, with particular focus on adherence and non-adherence to global media reporting guidelines. We posit through the process of producing stories using the RSR model, journalists should interact more effectively with critical risk factors for example, stigmatisation, copycat effects, harmful speculation, highlighted by media reporting guidelines.