KMVT Reporting On Suicide


By Michelle Costa

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) - Suicide is a leading cause of death, substantially more prevalent than homicide.

About 30,000 people kill themselves in this country yearly.

Half a million more wind up in the emergency room following a suicide attempt.

As a general rule, KMVT News and Neuhoff Communications do not report on suicides.

Deciding whether to report on a suicide, it's not really black and white, more of a gray area.

"As a rule of thumb, we do not report on suicides, however, we have guidelines we follow. For example, if it’s a public figure or puts the public in danger then we determine if we report on it,” said Joe Martin, KMVT News Director.

The Twin Falls County Victim Assistance Coordinator explains it needs to be talked about because suicide rates aren't getting any better, in fact, they're getting worse.

"Unfortunately, suicide rates are back up. Twin Falls County falls in line with the rest of the state of Idaho and even a little higher than the other counties so we're in the top 10 in the nation for the highest suicide rates,” said Lori Stewart, Twin Falls County.

Nationwide, one person will die every 16 minutes by suicide. It's a ripple effect that's impacting our entire community.

"Asking someone if they are suicidal or they have these thoughts is the right thing to do. We don't want to talk about specific suicides or the means or the way they end their lives. But, the education is important,” said Stewart.

Sometimes talking about an often taboo subject may save a life in the future.

If you have any questions relating to this issue, please call the station at 733–1100.

The National Suicide Hot Line is 800–273–8255.

The policy at KMVT is as follows:

We do not report on suicides except in the exception of the following circumstances.

1. If the suicide is that of a public figure or an elected official.
2. If the suicide causes danger to the general public.
3. If the suicide has caused a large amount of damage.
4. If the suicide is done in a public way that affects a large number of people. Or causes law enforcement to be called into play like in the event of a stand off.

All of the above exceptions will be decided upon only by the Station's News Director.

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