Shannon Sampert

  • Take suicide out of the closet

    In October 1996, while walking to work in Edmonton, a man killed himself in front of me. It was a life-changing event for me, but when I tried to get the details about who this man was, I was frustrated there was no mention of his suicide in any of the local media. It was explained to me that media don't often report on suicides for a number of reasons -- most notably, concerns about the so-called contagion effect or copycat suicides. But, what are the responsibilities of the media in reporting suicides? Given the high-profile death of Robin Williams and the heart-wrenching story today from Mike McIntyre about Ethan Williams, suicide has certainly been up for discussion, particularly in new social media, online and around the water cooler. What role can the media play in responsible coverage of suicide? Plenty, it seems.
  • Women settling into politics

    When's the last time someone asked Premier Gary Doer what he's done for men lately?

    For Doer, there's no expectation that he will represent men more avidly than women. There's no expectation that he must take into account his gender while doing his job. And while some of my cynical colleagues will say everything Doer does is aimed at helping men, he's not required to actively speak on behalf of men, simply because he is a man.

  • It's a scandal!

    Political scandals are nothing new, but how we talk about political scandal has definitely changed.

    The genesis of the modern media scandal in politics can be found in the coverage in the 1970s of the Watergate break-in. The story was transformative, changing forever the relationship between the media and government and fostering a new brand of reportage -- investigative journalism.

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