Mark Memmott, standards and practices editor at NPR, gave journalists there two reasons to be cautious of the word “suicide” to describe the death of Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of a Germanwings flight who may have purposefully forced the plane down:
— His motivation and state of mind aren’t known (and may never be).
– The investigation into what happened is still in the early stages.
Memmott also writes that the word “suicide” may not be adequate given that Lubitz might have deliberately crashed the plane. He also addressed the use of other formulations that incorporate “suicide,” including “suicide bomber” and “committed suicide.” In both cases, better alternatives exist, he says.
The AP Stylebook on Friday previewed a new entry for its forthcoming 2015 edition, recommending journalists should avoid using “committed suicide,” preferring instead “killed himself, took her own life or died by suicide.”
Committed, the new entry notes, “suggests possibly an illegal act” that is inconsistent with laws in certain U.S. Read more