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Newspaper reporting on a cluster of suicides in the UK

John, Ann, Hawton, Keith, Gunnell, David, Lloyd, Keith, Scourfield, Jonathan Bryn ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6218-8158, Jones, Phillip A., Luce, Ann, Marchant, Amanda, Platt, Steve, Price, Sian and Dennis, Michael S. 2017. Newspaper reporting on a cluster of suicides in the UK. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention 38 (1) , pp. 17-25. 10.1027/0227-5910/a000410

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Abstract

Background: Media reporting may influence suicide clusters through imitation or contagion. In 2008 there was extensive national and international newspaper coverage of a cluster of suicides in young people in the Bridgend area of South Wales, UK. Aims: To explore the quantity and quality of newspaper reporting during the identified cluster. Method: Searches were conducted for articles on suicide in Bridgend for 6 months before and after the defined cluster (June 26, 2007, to September 16, 2008). Frequency, quality (using the PRINTQUAL instrument), and sensationalism were examined. Results: In all, 577 newspaper articles were identified. One in seven articles included the suicide method in the headline, 47.3% referred to earlier suicides, and 44% used phrases that guidelines suggest should be avoided. Only 13% included sources of information or advice. Conclusion: A high level of poor-quality and sensationalist reporting was found during an ongoing suicide cluster at the very time when good-quality reporting could be considered important. A broad awareness of media guidelines and expansion and adherence to press codes of practice are required by journalists to ensure ethical reporting.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Publisher: Hogrefe
ISSN: 0227-5910
Funders: NISCHR Welsh Government
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 August 2016
Date of Acceptance: 2 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2022 13:43
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/93574

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