BOSTON (CBS) – Reporting and analysis of the suicide of Aaron Hernandez is everywhere today.
The saturation coverage will likely continue for awhile. And that’s an unusual occurrence.
Suicide often goes unreported in the media, for good reason.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, multiple studies have found that news coverage, if handled improperly, can “increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals” depending on the “amount, duration and prominence of coverage.”
In its “recommendations for reporting on suicide,” the AFSP offers a list of don’ts, including “sensationalistic headlines,” terming a suicide “inexplicable or without warning,” and quoting first responders or police analyzing what caused a suicide.
Unfortunately, we’ve already seen all these recommendations ignored.
One local radio station took a break from its on-air celebration of Hernandez’s death to feature a long interview with Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson, who conceded he has no relevant expertise on the subject before offering a lengthy analysis of why Hernandez did it.
“To cheer a suicide impacts folks struggling with suicidal thoughts & those who have lost someone to suicide,” tweeted Melida Arredondo, co-founder with her husband Carlos of the Arredondo Family Foundation, which helps military families prevent suicide.
“Think before you type.”
And before you comment.
It’s understandable if you can’t muster much sympathy for Hernandez.
But have some compassion for the innocents who might be adversely affected by thoughtless bluster.