Practice Hard News Story- Reporting on Suicide

Hello readers!

***Trigger warning: Suicide will be mentioned in this post (although not explicitly). If you or someone close to you needs support,  please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Here is another practice hard news story- this time the topic at hand is a lot more serious. Last week in our tutorials, we were taught how to report on suicide.

It is quite a confronting issue, and the lesson itself was quite full on, but it is important that is reported on. It must be done factually and respectfully though. The ultimate aim of the journalist is to report on suicide as a public health issue.

In this practice article, we were given a fictional a scenario about a young man who had committed suicide. We were instructed to write a hard news story on the scenario in an ethical and considerate manner.

Here is how I reported on the issue….

An 18-year-old male was found dead at Kooroogool Nature Park yesterday afternoon.

The man was identified as Mayor Lomas’ second son, Carl Lomas.

Senior Constable Douglas could not comment on the cause of death.

“There does not appear to be any evidence of foul play,” Senior Constable Douglas said.

Mrs Lomas “wants people to know the truth” about her son.

“He was a good boy, and a wonderful human being,” Mrs Lomas said. “We all miss him so much.”

Mrs Lomas said Carl “had his ups and downs”, but was “very sad” after the death of his brother last year.

According to Lifeline, suicide is the leading cause of death for those between 15 and 44.

Men also account for three out of every five deaths by suicide.

There are multiple suicide prevention services in Australia to aid individuals.

Organisations such as Lifeline and Kids Helpline stress the importance of family intervention.

“Most suicidal individuals give warning signs of their intentions,” said Lifeline. “Recognise these warning signs and respond to them.”

If you or someone close to you needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.


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