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Suicide and Mental Health Media Award Goes to KIRO-TV

Suicide and Mental Health Media Award Goes to KIRO-TV

In-depth reports on public health crisis and new legislation ‘absolutely hit every point’


Deborah HorneForefront: innovations in Suicide Prevention and the Journalism Program at University of Washington’s Department of Communication are proud to announce that this year’s winner of the Washington Award for Excellence in Coverage of Mental Health & Suicide goes to a remarkable series of three stories about suicide and suicide prevention by KIRO-TV reporters Deborah Horne (Suicide prevention creates mock cemetery on Capitol's lawn), Monique Ming Laven (Seattle AntiFreeze: Pushing for change), and Michelle Millman (interview with Jennifer Stuber about Safer Homes bill and suicide myths).

The coverage was wide-ranging: touching on everything from the immensity of suicide as a public health crisis, to bipartisan legislation that encourages pharmacists and gun retailers to have suicide prevention training, to how important it is for all of us to be willing and able to talk about suicide — and to use clear, non-stigmatized language when we do.

The annual award comes with $500 in cash, which the KIRO-TV recipients are donating to the Palmerston R.K. "Bigfoot" Burk Memorial Scholarship, which honors a teenager on Vashon Island who lost his life by suicide and whose mother, Kathleen Gilligan, has advocated for Washington’s ground-breaking new suicide prevention laws.

The KIRO series won high marks from all the judges, whose comments included:Monique Ming Laven

  • It just absolutely hit every point. It seemed remarkable to me.
  • This is public service journalism at its best. Here are all the facts you need, and what you need to do.
  • It’s a crash course in how to handle suicide in journalism — from the language stigma to the personal narratives. It really rose to the top, with the amount of care and thought that was put into it.
  • What struck me was the commitment to the story. All the pieces showed a commitment to educating and spreading understanding on issues from the new legislation to how to talk about suicide. One reporter spent the whole day at the legislature, and that’s a lot of time.

The award will be presented to KIRO-TV on the evening of Forefront’s annual event, Nov. 30. To attend this inspiring, educational gathering of suicide prevention experts, suicide loss survivors and others, please sign up here by Nov. 16.  

For more information, contact Aimee Chou, Millman



Previous Award Winners: