Sensationalism or sensitivity: Reporting

Angela M. Corbo, Kristen L. Zweifel


This article investigates the nature of sensitivity in reporting the news in cases of suicide. We examine the boundaries of privacy and the appropriate guidelines for reporting as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists, the 9 Principles of Journalism as noted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and CDC. Suicide contagion and the susceptibility of the audience are explored. Specifically, we will look at two cases where the suicides were well-documented in the media: the Dateline's To Catch a Predator suicide of Louis William Conradt, Jr. and the Rutger's University first-year student, Tyler Clementi.


Suicide; Suicide contagion; SPJ Code of Ethics; Tyler Clementi; Louis William Conradt; Jovan Belcher; Project for Excellence in Journalism


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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896