Standards and Practices

Welcome to the Mountainair Dispatch! The Dispatch is committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism and maintaining the trust of our readers. The Mountainair Dispatch Standards and Practices page outlines the principles and guidelines that govern the Dispatch's reporting, ensuring accuracy, fairness, and integrity in all news content. I believe that responsible journalism plays a vital role in informing and empowering individuals while contributing to a well-informed society. By adhering to these standards, I aim to provide reliable, ethical, and impactful news coverage. My commitment extends to promoting transparency, respecting diversity, and fostering meaningful public discourse. I invite you to explore the Mountainair Dispatch's Standards and Practices to learn more about my journalistic approach and the values that guide my newsroom.

Suicide Coverage

Reporting on sensitive topics like suicide requires careful consideration and adherence to ethical guidelines. To that end, the Mountainair Dispatch will adhere to the following formal policies when it comes to reporting on suicide:

Sensitivity and Compassion:

  • The Mountainair Dispatch must approach stories about suicide with empathy, respect, and sensitivity towards the individuals affected, their families, and the wider community.
  • The Mountainair Dispatch will avoid using graphic or sensationalistic language, images, or details that may cause distress or encourage imitation.

Minimize Harm:

  • The Mountainair Dispatch will consider the potential impact of reporting on vulnerable audiences, particularly those who have experienced or are at risk of suicidal ideation.
  • The Mountainair Dispatch will avoid excessive coverage that may lead to contagion or the “Werther effect” (i.e., copycat suicides) by providing detailed descriptions of methods, locations, or personal histories of those involved.
  • The Mountainair Dispatch will refrain from speculating or making assumptions about motives unless supported by verified information.

Responsible Reporting:

  • The Mountainair Dispatch will prioritize accuracy by verifying facts from reliable sources before publishing or broadcasting.
  • The Mountainair Dispatch will seek expert input from mental health professionals, suicide prevention organizations, or other relevant authorities to provide accurate information and context.
  • The Mountainair Dispatch will highlight available resources such as helpline numbers, crisis centers, or support services for individuals in need.
  • The Mountainair Dispatch will obtain informed consent from individuals affected by suicide, their families, or legal representatives before sharing personal details or photographs, ensuring their well-being and privacy are respected.
  • The Mountainair Dispatch will be cautious when reporting on suicides within certain cultural or religious contexts, taking into account sensitivities and potential stigma.

Awareness and Education:

  • The Mountainair Dispatch will promote understanding and awareness of suicide as a complex public health issue, addressing its societal, psychological, and systemic dimensions.
  • The Mountainair Dispatch will collaborate with mental health organizations and experts to produce informative content that educates the public, reduces stigma, and encourages help-seeking behavior.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or are having thoughts of suicide, please refer to this list of mental health resources to get the help you need.

Postvention Measures:

  • The Mountainair Dispatch will provide information on postvention resources for communities affected by suicide, such as support groups, counseling services, or memorial events.
  • The Mountainair Dispatch will offer stories of hope, resilience, and recovery that emphasize the importance of mental health treatment and support.

Because journalistic standards and societal understanding of suicide reporting will evolve, this policy will be subject to change in an attempt to match standards and norms.

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