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Blancaflor, D. (2019). Trigger Warning!: Analyzing Online News Reports On Suicide from June 2015 to June 2019. Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

Abstract

Journalists play a crucial role in both informing and educating the public. In January 2019, a local artist livestreamed his suicide on Facebook, causing an uproar online. In a competitive industry where real-time reporting is a must, news outlets feasted on the video and framed their stories in various ways, putting into question some journalistic principles. Springboarding from this incident, this study sought to describe how suicide stories published online from June 2015 to June 2019 were covered by online news outlets Inquirer.net, Rappler, GMA News Online, and Abante.com.ph. I also checked whether these stories were responsibly reported vis-a-vis various guidelines on suicide reporting. Through content analysis, with Framing and Gatewatching Theories as the main lenses, results showed emerging frames under prominence, majority of which were about local news and entertainment stories. Most of the articles were also irresponsibly reported, describing methods of suicide, location, and not including trigger warnings and help lines in the reports. In fact, only two out of the four newsrooms had clearcut guidelines on suicide reporting. These results shed light on mental health and suicide in the Philippines with the aim of improving journalistic practices, while also aiding in the process of suicide’s destigmatization in the long run.

Keywords: Suicide, Mental Health, Content Analysis, Framing, Gatewatching

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