Blog: The Educated Reporter

A teacher is found dead; report carefully.

I learned through Alexander Russo that a Los Angeles teacher concerned that his value-added rating was “less effective” was found dead, a suspected suicide.

I urge journalists to consider this principle from a World Health Organization guide to covering suicide: “Suicide is never the result of a single factor or event.” I am not saying an incident like this isn’t worth looking into, but journalists reporting on newsworthy deaths should refrain from DIY diagnoses and be mindful of the complexity of mental health issues.