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Search on for possible jumper off Mass. Ave. bridge

Searching the Charles River

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.

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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...

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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.

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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 ...).

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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.

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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."

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The media have to conform to police preferences in their use of language since when?

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Possible? What a waste of time!

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Neither you nor anybody in your family ever suffers an emergency that requires a possible search.

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There is no emergency if there is no jumper, therefore, no need for a search!

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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.

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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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