Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Briefly Breaks Policy with Suicide Story

Notice the story on the Baxter County teen’s suicide? It was published on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette website last Wednesday.

The story caught the eye of your Whispers writers because it’s unusual for the Dem-Gaz — or, really, any news organization — to report an at-home suicide, let alone a suicide story with the name of a minor included. And that’s what the story was: A 16-year-old boy apparently killed himself with a revolver at home.

The story didn’t run in the print edition of the newspaper, and Deputy Editor Frank Fellone said the paper’s policy is that “we don’t report a suicide unless there’s a newsworthy element.” He defined newsworthy as a “prominent person” or in a “public place.”

Barry Arthur, assistant managing editor and overseer of the statewide newspaper’s online editorial staff, said his policy is the same.

“If one ran online, it probably shouldn’t have,” Arthur said. “Our policy pretty much reflects the same policy as the newspaper.”

Within an hour of our phone calls, the story vanished from