Putting Guidelines for Reporting on Suicide into Practice

August 16, 2019

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


NPR is increasing its efforts to follow expert recommendations for reporting on suicide. According to Public Editor Elizabeth Jensen, the media organization tries to balance accurate reporting with safety best practices. For example, NPR typically does not report on suicide methods, but has opted to include that information when it is relevant to a larger issue, such as police officers’ access to firearms. Over several months, NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday is airing reports on suicide, including a recent piece on suicide among older adults. Host Scott Simon said he was not previously aware that the term “commit suicide” could suggest a criminal act, and now avoids using it. Other hosts and reporters still use the term, however, which Jensen said needs to change.

Spark Extra! Check out the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide.