Social Question

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Why are suicides not reported in the news unless someone gets taken with them?

Asked by Captain_Fantasy (11439points) February 24th, 2010

Guy jumps off a building: No mention.
Guy kills his family and himself: Front page news

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16 Answers

grumpyfish's avatar

Murders are generally reported, while other deaths aren’t. Unless they’re significant in some other way.

eponymoushipster's avatar

Suicide isn’t technically a crime. Crime gets reported.

Vunessuh's avatar

Because that person took the lives of several others with them, making it murder. Not to mention murder of their own family.

Berserker's avatar

There are too many suicides to report every single one of them, and I guess you gotta make way for something that may affect the one community.
Granted a suicide does, but probably not enough beyond the family and friends of the person who killed themselves.

phoebusg's avatar

Additionally, you wouldn’t want to start a wave of suicides. Monkey see, monkey do. If you see in the news hundreds of suicides, even if they are just hundreds, they’re likely to push more to join in on that forming norm.

faye's avatar

My newspaper friend says it’s respect for the family.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

There was a suicide here not long ago where a guy jumped from a mid size building.
There were reports of people telling him to jump and people laughing after the event.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know about your news services, but around here, the suicides get reported.

pikipupiba's avatar

It’s probably out of respect for the family, as @faye said.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@wundayatta the phillies don’t count.

Blackberry's avatar

People chose suicide…...There’s no time to report every ‘emo’ that springs up. A lot of people commit suicide as well, there is also a lot of crime, you can’t report everything.

mary84's avatar

I’m a journalist, not in an English speaking country but the main principles are pretty much the same all over the world.
There has to be a story behind it, otherwise we’ve nothing to report. And as others have already stated, we need to show respect to relatives and family. Suicides can be due to a lot of reasons, sometimes there’s clearly a story behind or details that are of news value (such as jumping off a high building etc, those are unusual details which are of news value) it and in such cases we do report it. If someone just committed suicide and the reasons are not known there is not much we can write about, and as already stated, we want to show respect to family.
If the person committing suicide takes the life of others too, it is a crime and as journalists it’s part of our responsibility to report about crimes and illegal actions in society.

limeaide's avatar

@phoebusg If the news media really cared they wouldn’t be reporting school shootings. I agree with the monkey see monkey do comment and I’ve seen the stats to back up that point with suicide and school shootings. It always gets to me when the media suggest that music was the reason for this murder, suicide or school shooting but there is no strong scientific proof this is the case, but there is a evidence that the media themselves have caused suicide, murder and school shootings.

Judi's avatar

Personally I was thankful my first husbands death wasn’t splashed all over the news. Sad thing is that it happens so often that only the famous are newsworthy.

wundayatta's avatar

@eponymoushipster Do you remember that series of stories in the Inky about the guy who jumped off the ten story building and survived? It came at a pretty intense time for me. They spoke about his change of heart when he found he was alive, and all the struggles he went through to rehab as best he could.

It was the reasons why he wanted to jump that I completely identified with, and I was very empathetic with them. Too much so, actually. It’s usually hard for me to think about. Like right now. It makes me very sad, and tears come to my eyes, and I feel a very tiny pull saying that if I did that, I wouldn’t have to worry about anything any more. I really hate feeling this way. It reminds me how complicated my life is, and how there is no obvious way to know the best thing to do.

NikO's avatar

I think it is wrong not to report suicides. There IS a story behind every suicide and I think we can all learn something from them. I believe a big reason is western society does not want to admit that there are problems with modern life. One example, gambling, would be responsible for many suicides. But governments and big businees would not want this investigated too thoroughly for fear the finger would be pointed at them.

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