Avatar power, why don't you know your tax bracket; lights, camera, outrage; how a political party went broke; and what's in the Cougar name?
The pleas of some mental health professionals in Minnesota to change the way newspapers and news organizations cover suicides has apparently not fallen on deaf ears.
Today, the Hastings Star Gazette announced a change in its policy of not covering suicides that happen in private, while reporting on those that happen in public. The paper acknowledged the mostly discredited assertion that covering suicides encourages more suicides (the Star Tribune maintains this policy), which is mostly an incorrect interpretation of what experts say. "Glorifying" suicides risks leads to more suicides. Details. Details.
That was short-sighted on our part. Essentially, we were sweeping the problem under the rug.
This week we changed that policy. We will write about mental health issues in the police report - again, the issues are not criminal, but police are often called to help mediate the situations and in some cases they transport the affected person for evaluation. It's a significant use of police resources, and the public ought to know how their department is spending its time.
Please know we will not be publishing the names of those who are affected. Nor will we publish addresses.
The greater good in this, we hope, is that by telling you about these instances you'll see how prevalent it is. You will have greater awareness about the ongoing struggles taking place in your community. Once you are armed with that information, we hope you'll do what you can to help your fellow residents.
Our guess is that if the people who need this care feel like they are the only ones with the problem, they could feel ashamed. They may refuse to be treated. They could become even more isolated, and that would likely just exacerbate the problem.(2 Comments)
Ben Chorn in Duluth writes:
I am hoping that exposure to these stories help people make smarter decisions about driving.
This one: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/220470/
is about a 13 year old who took his parents car without permission, picked up some friends, then drove down a some-what rural road in Duluth. He was speeding and tried to pass someone in a non-passing zone. He had to swerve to miss an oncoming car which forced him into the ditch where he then hit a tree. Everyone went to the hospital, none were wearing seatbelts.
The other, http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/220465/
is about a 19 year old who at 7:30AM had a BAC over 0.08. He was also speeding and on a road that had 2 lanes in each direction, tried to pass someone. He hit an oncoming car with a grandmother and grandkid going to school, killing the woman.
The road conditions weren't factors in any of these stories and all could have been avoided. I am hoping that people make better decisions. Just last night a friend on Facebook posted about how she was on a major road in Billings, MT and some idiots decided to street race their pick-ups. One ended up hitting a non-racing driver and then drove off. Luckily bystanders stopped and there weren't any serious injuries.
There are plenty of places on the website to catch the last show and various festivities of Gary Eichten Day (have you seen these pictures), so let's wrap things up with this nugget.
After today's final broadcast, the employees of MPR held a gathering in his honor in the UBS Forum. The employees -- the "little people" -- sent him and his wife to Hawaii. It was Cathy Wurzer's idea.
And then Eichten was presented with his softball jersey.
"We know you always wanted to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame," managing director of regional news Chris Worthington said.
"It doesn't look too good," Eichten said.
"It will hang on the wall of the MPR newsroom forever," Worthington said.
It's the MPR News Hall of Fame. It has one member.(5 Comments)