Tim watched some of the first responders searching the Charles around 4:30 p.m. Nick Gillham reported they were looking for somebody who might have jumped. Traffic was backed up in both directions.
This is one of those comments hiding in a question - rhetorical if you will. Is it a good idea to report suicide given the narcissistic nature of the act? I don't know journalism as a craft - so I'll take a lesson...
Most journalists nowadays participate in a conspiracy of self-sensorship nowadays regarding suicide, justified by the claim that publishing such stories will embolden others thinking about suicide into actually doing so. I for one am glad Adam does not seem to subscribe to this position.
My thinking is if you're doing it in public, it's news, in some cases affecting hundreds of people (think of somebody jumping off the Tobin at rush hour - something that seems to have stopped of late, maybe the recent repairs and painting included putting up a fence?). If you do it quietly at home or wherever, it affects only the person's loved ones and no need to intrude on their privacy.
I think you'll find most news organizations do something somewhat similarly. The reason I seem to cover it more is more because I tend to cover smaller things that larger news organizations might not (people wan to know why Mass. Ave. is backed up into the South End ...).
I would say the problem is when news sources refuse to use the word "suicide" - the Crimson is a particularly heinous offender in this regard. Even in the most explicit cases, the word is nowhere to be found. And this is a problem.
I remember the morning when Charles Stuart jumped off the Tobin Bridge. Was monitoring the MetroTraffic frequency when 'base' commented to the other reporters "The police have determined it was a suicide, but they don't want us stating that on the air."
The media have to conform to police preferences in their use of language since when?
Possible? What a waste of time!
Neither you nor anybody in your family ever suffers an emergency that requires a possible search.
There is no emergency if there is no jumper, therefore, no need for a search!
What do you do when you're a 911 operator and somebody calls to report they think they just saw somebody jump off the bridge? Just go "that's nice" and sit there? I don't know about this incident, but that's basically what happened a couple weeks ago there. In that case, the witness was wrong; but people have jumped off that bridge.
I don't see a problem in searching based on a false alarm. Fortunately this time they didn't engage in some massive overreaction like locking down the entire square mile surrounding the bridge, which if they did I would agree with you.
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