Objects to coverage

To the editor:

As a person who has dealt with suicidal thoughts for many years, I was shocked and appalled by your coverage of the suicidal man over the weekend. I’m not sure why it is considered newsworthy to cover a man in his weakest moment as he contemplates suicide while standing on a bridge.

I couldn’t believe that you took pictures of this poor man in the midst of a crisis. I’m the first person that will say that more attention needs to be brought to the issue of suicide, and I’ve publically shared my story of my struggles with mental illness, but this is not the way to bring attention to it. This was just plain wrong.

If you felt the need to cover it, couldn’t you just have taken a picture of the police officer that talked to the man and mentioned that this officer helped save the man’s life and helped him get help? What if the man had jumped? Would you still have published his picture moments before he took his life?

This man does not need the whole community to know about his struggles, and as a person that has been in that position, I would not want a picture of me in the paper as I contemplated taking my life. You did this man and his family a disservice by publicizing this. For future reference, there is no circumstance where it is OK to take pictures of someone that is about to take their life and publish them in the newspaper, and this is coming from someone with diagnosed mental illnesses that has been in that position before.

What was happening on that bridge was not something that should ever be published in the local newspaper in the manner of which it was published by you. I cannot stress enough how insensitive it was to do this without regard to the fact that this man probably did not want the whole world knowing that he was the suicidal man on the bridge. A police officer helping to save the life of a suicidal man is newsworthy, but the suicidal man in question should have been left out of the story.

Jessica Jacobs

Fort Dodge

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