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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Difficult choices

You may have noticed a story on page A2 of our print edition this morning, and on our Web site, about a woman's body being found in the Hudson River nearly a month after she committed suicide by jumping off the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge.

We often get asked why we report some suicides but not others, so allow me to explain.

The rule of thumb long has been that we'll report a suicide only if it is done in public -- jumping off a bridge, shooting oneself in a store or restaurant, for example -- or if the act involves a publicly known person. If a mayor, a school district superintendent, a well-known local singer or the city editor of the local newspaper decides to end it all -- even in the privacy of their own home -- the details almost certainly will be published in our paper.

A suicide committed in private by a person who is not in the public eye generally will not appear on our pages.

This is a matter we do not take lightly -- and we understand that publishing a story about a suicide can exacerbate an already-difficult situation for the family of the deceased -- but we believe this policy is in line with our responsibility to inform readers about matters of public interest.



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