The media must beware of linking suicide cases to Wall Street's financial meltdown, Katia Bachko writes in the Columbia Journalism Review. Yet newspapers have already connected murder-suicides in Pennsylvania, California, and India to the crumbling economy, despite warnings from the WHO and other agencies about a "copycat effect." So why the headlines?
Because "the 1929 historical tale of guys jumping out of buildings is part of the ongoing urban legend," one suicide expert tells Bachko. Stats show that while suicides increased in from 1925 to 1932, they actually fell right after the crash in October 1929. So, "given the alarmist language that characterizes much of today’s financial coverage, papers must show thoughtful restraint," Bachko writes. "Tread lightly."