A social marketing campaign was introduced in California in 2012, promoting media adherence to consensus-based guidelines on reporting about suicide. We examine adherence to these guidelines by applying quantitative scores to articles in California and a national control group in two six-month intervals prior to and following campaign implementation. Utilizing a difference-in-difference approach, we found no significant effect of the campaign, though the type of article content was a significant indicator of the overall score. Findings also demonstrated a nation-wide downward trend in the quality of reporting. Qualitative results suggest a need for more flexible guidelines in light of a technologically driven news culture.
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