An exercise in improving suicide reporting in print media

Crisis. 2000;21(2):71-9. doi: 10.1027//0227-5910.21.2.71.


This study was conducted to support the publication of guidelines for media reporting on suicide. First, quantitative and qualitative aspects of suicide reporting in Swiss print media were surveyed over a time span of 8 months. The results were presented at a national press conference, and written guidelines for suicide reporting were sent out to all newspaper editors. The results of the survey and the guidelines were discussed in a personal meeting with the Editor-in-Chief of the main tabloid. After the publication of the guidelines a second, identical survey was conducted. The main variables regarding frequency, form, and content of the newspaper reports before and after the press conference were compared. The number of articles, on the one hand, increased over the 3 years between the first and second survey, but the quality of reporting clearly improved on the other. The personal contact with the editor of the tabloid was probably the most effective means of intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Mass Media*
  • Publishing / standards*
  • Suicide Prevention*