Reporting suicide

It’s not often I use “young people’s language”, but the way the Daily Telegraph has reported the death of Spider-Man 3 actress Lucy Gordon can only be described as EPIC FAIL.

The guidelines for the reporting of suicide, developed by Mindframe and endorsed by beyondblue are:

Check that the language doesn’t present suicide as a solution to problems. From the DT: “He also told detectives that Miss Gordon had been deeply affected by the recent suicide of a friend back in Britain.”

Do not describe the method or where it took place. From the Daily Telegraph article: “… after her lifeless body was found [details deleted] her Paris flat… She lived in a $2,500-a-month two-bedroom rented apartment in [address deleted] Paris, an up-and-coming area popular with young professionals on the Right Bank of the Seine.”

When reporting celebrity suicide, “avoid descriptions of the method and seek comment on the wastefulness of the act”. Fail on both counts.

Don’t place the story on the front page – the story is the main image on the Daily Telegraph website.

And finally, include helpline contacts – again, not done by the Daily Telegraph.

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