Covering Suicide: Workshop for Philadelphia Journalists

A workshop for journalists on covering suicide, sponsored by the Thomas Scattergood Foundation for Behavioral Health and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will take place September 21 and 22 at WHYY in Philadelphia.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24 and the 10th leading cause of death among all Americans. Yet covering suicide poses profound challenges for journalists and news organizations. When suicide is the subject, newsrooms must contend with stigma, family privacy, scientific findings on "suicide contagion" and the ethical responsibilities and concerns of journalists.

To help local journalists and regional news organizations in the mid-Atlantic region face these challenges, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma will sponsor "Covering Suicide," a two-day workshop featuring a wide range of local and national mental health and researchers and policy experts, award-winning journalists and suicide prevention advocates. To be held on September 21-22, 2012 at the studios of WHYY in Philadelphia, this workshop is made possible by funding from the Thomas Scattergood Foundation for Behavioral Health and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

"Covering Suicide" will include background briefings on the latest research as well as specialized reporting skills training to enhance the practical ability of journalists and news organizations to report on suicide knowledgeably, ethically and effectively. It is the third in a series of Dart Center programs for Philadelphia-area journalists sponsored by the Scattergood Foundation; previous workshops focused on covering veterans and reporting on youth violence.


Workshop Agenda

Workshop Speaker Bios

The "Covering Suicide" workshop will:

  • Serve as a forum for improving journalists' knowledge of issues such as suicide myths, trends and contagion, mental health and illness, bullying, substance abuse, social media and special populations including youth, LGBT and returning veterans.
  • Explore new research, reporting ideas and best practices with leading mental health and policy experts and award-winning journalists;
  • Confront challenges — and identify opportunities — for local journalists pursuing these stories with limited resources;
  • Provide practical tools that enable journalists to accurately, effectively and ethically undertake stories involving suicide.

The workshop is open to reporters for print, broadcast and online media; and editors, photographers, producers or bloggers in the mid-Atlantic region. (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C.) Staff, contract and freelance journalists are welcome to register.


To register please e-mail the following to the address below:

  • your name, position and news organization. If freelance, list media outlets with which you have worked in the last 18 months;
  • full contact information; and one-page letter of interest describing the reasons you wish to attend this workshop and specific issues or challenges you have confronted and/or would like to explore concerning the topic.

Registration materials and inquiries should be sent to Kate Black at [email protected]

This workshop is made possible by generous grants from the Thomas Scattergood Foundation for Behavioral Health and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.