Can Journalists Stop Suicides?


Photo Credit: Getty Images | Robert D. Barnes, Digital Vision

Photo Credit: Getty Images | Robert D. Barnes, Digital Vision

By: Linley Sanders

A new study suggests that by following certain tips, journalists are able to dramatically reduce the number of suicides, specifically cluster suicides, that take place in a community. According to an article reported by Poynter and The Daily Beast, there are facts that support the idea that detailed reporting about suicides was likely to result in a chain reaction. As the study explains:

It’s not just that the suicides in a cluster were written about more often—the type of coverage was significant. The first suicide in a cluster was more likely to be printed on the front page of a newspaper and more likely to include photos, while the headlines more often contained the word ‘suicide’. The coverage was also more likely to detail the specific suicide method, and was classified as “sensational” or tabloid-like. Suicide notes were also mentioned more frequently.

Basically, newspaper reports that detailed suicides were said to cause copycat suicides more frequently than when reports were less graphic or detailed.

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Does using slang make us lose credibility?

Posted by Hayleigh Syens


 photo credit: HowardLake via photopin cc

On April 3, Gawker editor Max Read sent out a memo to Gawker writers that banned Internet slang like “epic” and “derp” from the Gawker website, citing that “We want to sound like regular adult human beings, not Buzzfeed writers or Reddit commenters,” and that writers need to “err on the side of the Times, not XOJane.”

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Ethical Reevaluation




The Society of Professional Journalists (known as SPJ) is in the process of revising their Code of Ethics which will affect thousands of journalists but it might be about time since journalism has changed a little since it was last revised in 1996. A 18 member committee, is finally working on a revision of the Code of Ethics

Holding final say on the code is an 18-member committee of professional journalists. Take a look at some of the revisions they’ve made so far:




These revisions are nothing short of the beginning. This careful revision process expected to last until mid-summer. If you’re interested in reading the suggested revisions check out this PDF that shows the changes beside the current. Continue reading

Jumping the gun


Image credit to Erik Mörner licensed under Creative Commons

Posted by Spencer Vasey

In the last year, Bill Murray stopped a bank robbery in Tokyo, France passed a law making it illegal to answer work emails after 6 p.m. and Joe Paterno died.

 Then he came back to life.

And then he died again.

 The stories above were all reported by major news outlets, and each of them, excluding Paterno’s second passing, is entirely false.

 In a world where media giants are in a constant race to be the first to break big stories, misreports are becoming increasingly common. Reporters are skipping the reporting stage and putting their pen to paper before checking to see if their stories hold water.

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Final exam poll

Jeanne Moos and Cultural Insensitivity

Posted by Brian Taylor Carlson

Jeanne Moos – a national news correspondent for CNN, famous for her unique feature stories and quirky opinion pieces – has been in the spotlight over a piece she did recently.

And not in a good way.

On April 9, Moos showcased a story about a visit by Prince William and his family to New Zealand. They were greeted by the Maori people in an elaborate welcome ceremony.

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Anonymous Sources and Pseudonyms in Journalism

Posted by Marissa Mumford

The Washington Post recently published the gripping struggles of a sexually assaulted war veteran. Per her request, the source is identified only by her middle name, Diana. “Diana” pretends all is well while secretly accumulating doctor’s visits and battling stress and paranoia.

Credit to Leland Francisco, licensed under Creative Commons

Diana was viciously brutalized and hasn’t shared her story with family or friends. It isn’t the Washington Post’s job to make her pain known to the world. I understand that. Ethically, it feels right. But from a journalistic point of view, is this okay? If a prestigious news source is going to publish a lengthy piece on sexual abuse in the armed forces, shouldn’t the source be entirely verifiable?

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