Abstract:

Media reporting can impact negatively or positively on suicidal behaviour. Specific reporting methods such as the use of sensationalism can influence suicidal behaviour. This paper presents the findings from a study that aimed to provide an in-depth examination of New Zealand mainstream news items in which websites played a role in suicide. We used framing analysis to interpret the role online technology plays in the reporting of the suicide event. The findings indicate that news items were primarily framed in such a way so that the role of online technology was often overemphasised at the expense of the suicide events themselves. While websites were characteristically framed as ‘enablers’ or ‘preventers’ of suicide, the contribution of mental wellbeing to suicide was largely marginalised in the news media reports. The paper concludes by considering the implications of these framings for existing media studies of suicide and the media’s role in suicide prevention.

Reference:

Thom, K., Edwards, G., Nakarada-Kordic, I., McKenna, B., O' Brien, A., & Nairn, R. (2012). Suicide Online: Portrayal of website-related suicide by the New Zealand media. New Media and Society, 13(8), 1355–1372.