The Associated Press has introduced guidance on how to use information about mental illness in coverage. "Do not describe an individual as mentally ill unless it is clearly pertinent to a story and the diagnosis is properly sourced," the new Stylebook entry begins.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that left 20 children and 7 adults dead, there was much speculation about the mental health of shooter Adam Lanza.
By email, AP spokesperson Paul Colford acknowledged that shooting was a factor.
"Newtown was certainly among the reasons we considered this carefully, as well as the run of other mass shootings where the state of the shooter was an issue. Editors heard from and sounded out mental health experts and welcomed their input," he said. (more...)