Celebrity deaths force media to examine suicide reporting

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NEW YORK (AP) — The deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain have caused media organizations to look at how they cover suicide and whether more could be done to prevent copycat killings, without neglecting the duty to report news.

Several outlets have publicized the 1-800-273-8255 suicide prevention hotline. People and Entertainment Weekly magazines are using it on their covers this week.

Operators say the hotline has received the largest volume of calls in its history following the celebrity deaths.

Fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain in New York. The deaths of Spade and Bourdain last week are causing some journalists to re-evaluate how suicide is reported, in an attempt to be mindful of the danger of copycats. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matt
Fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain in New York. The deaths of Spade and Bourdain last week are causing some journalists to re-evaluate how suicide is reported, in an attempt to be mindful of the danger of copycats. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matt

The Associated Press sent guidelines to its staff this week about how suicides should be reported, including new instructions on addressing suicide notes.

The Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank, also publicized advice to news leaders.

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