Friday, December 23, 2011

Phoenix | Reports: Intern dies in suicide jump

An Arizona State University journalism student jumped off the ninth-floor roof of The Arizona Republic's downtown parking garage Wednesday night in an apparent suicide attempt, and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, published reports say.

The student was a Republic intern, according to Phoenix New Times, which notes that the Republic did not identify him as such in its story about the incident.

The student was taken to a hospital in extremely serious condition, New Times said, but was pronounced dead at 11 p.m. local time, according to the Republic.

The newspaper and New Times did not identify the student by name. He was one of the Republic's breaking-news interns, New Times said, citing a source it did not identify.

[Hat tip, Jim Romenesko]


  1. Deepest sympathy to the young man's family and friends. Suicide is a sad, complex and under reported tragedy. And a pox on the Republic for not being fully forthcoming and reporting that the student was an intern in their newsroom. There's no news judgment left in that place, folks.

  2. 7:18 what a horrible, insensitive post. A young person dues and you still can't resist bashing the company? Shame On you. There is a time and place and this isn't it.

  3. 7:39, let me see if I have this right. A newspaper commits an act of dishonesty in the reporting of a tragic event, but it is wrong to cite that dishonesty because the event was tragic?


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  5. No 7:51 YOU used this blog as an opportunity to slam the company you don't like at this child's expense. That is what is truly unbelievable!

  6. This tiny thread so exemplifies what is wrong with journalism and journalists. You are more concerned about the story in the Republic than you are about what actually happened. Let's all give ourselves another journalism award.

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  8. Jim, other then sensationalism what purpose did posting this serve? I lost a lot of respect for you.

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  10. 12:37 Someone commits suicide on company property: That's news.

    Would you accuse the Republic of sensationalism, too?

  11. @12:37 sensationalism how?

    This tragedy happened on company property and is of interest to Gannett employees.

    It's not like this is a general 'news' site trying to drum up hits. He has a pretty regular following of viewers.

    I think Jim made the right call. He simply posted the facts and left it at that.

    It's funny, journalists flaming another journalist and complaining about the same things readers complain about in our own work. It boarders on ironic.

  12. So why didn't the Republic identify the intern as such? Anyone in the loop on that decision?

  13. Historically, newspapers have not reported suicides unless they happened in a public place (which this did) or involved prominent people.

    For example, if John Doe killed himself at home, that wouldn't be the subject of a story.

    Surviving family members of people who kill themselves often experience a lot of guilt on top of all the traditional feelings of grief. The media tends to be sensitive to that.

    Unfortunately, coroners and medical examiners defer to families as well, which is one reason why the number of suicides in the U.S. is underreported: death certificates often list cause of death as, say, accidental drug overdose even when a suicide note is present.

    I know this because I did a project on suicide for The Idaho Statesman. Idaho has historically had one of the nation's highest suicide rates. Indeed, suicide rates are much higher in western states, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

    (Also, suicide rates are highest among those 45-54 years old. Whites have the highest rates; blacks, the lowest. The suicide rate for men is four times higher than for women. As a group, elderly white men can be especially vulnerable.)

    The most recent state-by-state data I can find are for 2008. That year, Arizona ranked No. 14 among U.S. states and D.C. It had 15 suicides per 100,000 residents, according to the AFSP. The U.S. average was 11.8.

    Rates at the state level vary considerably from year to year, however. For example, Arizona ranked No. 8 in 2007.

  14. I think it is sensationalism because some subjects transcend intramural squabbles about how the company is run and should be left alone. You did not care about the kid you only wanted to take a shot at the Republic for leaving out the information about the internship.

    And how come you deleted other comments and kept 8:09's inappropriate comment up? I am interested why you think 8:09's comment is appropriate.

  15. 8:28 That comment was, indeed, on the edge. I've now removed it.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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