Celebrity Suicide: Media Recommendations for Reporting Suicide Not Followed

Amy S. Hedman-Robertson, Starr K. Sage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Increased suicides following media coverage of celebrities suicide deaths have been documented in several countries. Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide were published to provide guidance for media professionals when covering suicide. Research indicates guidelines have been poorly followed. Aim: We aimed to determine whether the recommendations were similarly observed when studying two online news organizations coverage of a celebrity s suicide. Method: In the 3 days following a high-profile celebrity s death, two US cable networks news websites were studied to compare how the death was reported. Online articles were reviewed using a coding rubric organized by six themes and 21 coding categories. Results: Between the two organizations, 34 articles were published. Regarding the recommendations, neither source followed all of the recommendations, as measured in this study. Source A fared better in providing help-seeking information. Limitations: Only two news organizations were studied for a 3-day period. Online videos, print articles, and social media were excluded. Conclusion: The suicide of a celebrity received repetitive media coverage with little emphasis on prevention or help-seeking. The recommendations were not consistently followed by the two news websites included in this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-424
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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  • celebrity suicide
  • media guidelines
  • media reporting
  • suicide


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