For those who missed it, the author of the previously mentioned book (see below) responded to my entry. He disagreed with me, and I disagreed with him. I stopped responding, though. It wasn’t a discussion but rather someone being really defensive and simply saying, “I’m right! You’re wrong!” Still, the reach of that entry was impressive, especially in that it was responded to within 2 hours of its being posted. Maybe I’ll discuss Paramount and their irresponsible treatment of the Star Trek franchise next.
Edit: The comments originally posted with the previous entry did not transfer over to WordPress, so I’ve decided to include them here for prosperity.
- Loren Coleman said…
- I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read most of my book, and commenting thoughtfully on your feelings, insights, and critiques in response to The Copycat Effect.
I won’t address everything you raised, but allow me to reply to some general items you discuss.
First and foremost, my book is clearly not a call for censorship, but an attempt at awareness, an alert regarding research findings tied to behavior contagion linked to media reporting. It also is a challenge for the media to begin a discussion on the topic to fine tune the reporting on mass violence.
Indeed, I directly address the issue of censorship on pages 255-256, in my subsection “Time for the Media to Wake Up.”
As I say there, I am not “asking the media to stop reporting the news.”
Regarding whether there is a research basis to my book, I discuss the ignored and neglected studies on this topic from the 1970s-present, in various locations in the introduction, pages 137ff, and elsewhere.
The book is not meant to be comprehensive, and does serve as an awareness primer, to be read in conjunction with the training incorporated in various manuals I’ve written and consultations I have delivered. It makes no claims for being an overview book on the characteristics of the vulnerable suicidal individuals who are triggered, but only a beginning survey on the subject that was ignored before my first book, Suicide Clusters came out in 1987.
As to my training, skills, talents, and background, I need not get into a lot of defensive verbage here. A brief reading of my lifework demonstrates schooling (Anthropology ’65-’69, BA ’76, Masters in Social Work ’78, Ph. D. programs in Soc. Anthrolopolgy and Family Violence, not completed), professional experience (mental health work 1967-present), university teaching (1980-2003, including 23 semesters of delivering a course on documentaries/news journalism), filmmaking (1984-2003), a fulltime senior research position at the Muskie School/USM (1983-1996), suicide/school violence consulting for the State of Maine (1998-2007), and media consulting (1969-present), which has given me lots of real life background experiences and research data for the book.
My sincere best wishes for a safe holiday season,
December 3, 2009 1:43 PM
Gospel X said…
- Wow! Simply, wow! I really don’t know what to say. It’s hard to be a snarky commentator when the author of the book actually responds to such an obscure blog. At this point I feel almost disrespectful.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my critiques. My discussion of your credentials was not meant to imply that your thoughts were any less valid. I just like to see research trials and so forth. I completely believe in the copycat effect, but I want to see the effect tested (and, like you suggested, used for positive actions if possible). I also understand that your book is not a call for censorship, but asking for the news to alter their approach and wording can definitely be interpreted as such. I like your suggestions, but I don’t think they’ll work.
I appreciate your reading and responding so quickly to my blog, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. It is my hope that some of it is incorporated in the program I will be attending in the future (or I’ll find a way to incorporate it). Have yourself a happy holiday.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have email follow-ups on, this will not reach you directly. The reason for my posting this on the blog is to make sure that people are aware of the dialogue. (And I don’t have your e-mail address.)
December 3, 2009 5:52 PM
Loren Coleman said…
Actually, the book directly addresses “experiments in natural occurrences” (trials) that tend to prove my hypothesis. See pages 180 and 258, when accidental censorship (post-9/11 terror reporting pushed school shooting media attention from the front pages), newspaper strikes, and mandated blackouts (in Vienna) on certain reporting has resulted in less school shootings, suicides, and specifically, in a good test tube situation in Austria, a drop by 75% in subway suicides.
Furthermore, the model of the media guidelines is based on those created almost 30 years ago which lessened the number of teen suicide clusters (a large problem in the 1980s in the USA), which had been directly linked to media-influenced behavior contagion.
BTW, my email is well-published as
and my snail address is
Loren Coleman, PO Box 360, Portland, ME 04112.