Why we chose not to cover a suicide

One of the hardest times to have a discussion in a newsroom is when someone decides to take his or her own life.

In times such as this, the newsroom serves a community that looks to them for answers, and it is the newsroom’s responsibility to respond accordingly. If our readers are asking why we are not covering something, we have to tell them why.


We have a duty to this campus, to our community and to our own that have been affected by issues such as this. This editorial serves as our answer.

We have a duty to be the voice for this campus, the voice for the student body. It is our job to cover issues related to this campus in a responsible and respectful manner. But in some circumstances, we do not feel that we can cover a story in a manner that fits this criteria.

Suicide is, to say the least, a thorny issue. On the one hand, our code of ethics dictates that if a suicide happens on campus or in a public place, we have to cover it. On the other hand, if we feel that we cannot give respectful and ethical coverage to it, then we will not cover it.

This is a discussion that has been happening for days in our newsroom. We are torn between the need to honor our community and, at the same time, to handle this issue with care. We would like our readers to know that we made the decision not to cover this, but it was not an easy one by any means. Our editorial board was, and still is, divided on the issue, and it took a lot of heavy discussion to come to a consensus.

The consensus that we reached is that we had to say something, had to do something, if only to give our community an explanation as to why there has been no coverage.