Dr Sallyanne Duncan

Senior Lecturer

Journalism, Media and Communication

Personal statement

I research media reporting of trauma, death, bereavement, mental health and suicide. My work focuses on journalistic processes, ethical issues and media representations and I have published several journal articles and book chapters in these areas.

I am the co-creator of the suicidereportingtoolkit.com, an online resource for journalists, journalism educators and students, aimed at encouraging responsible suicide reporting. The toolkit has been recognised as an invaluable tool for suicide prevention by the American Association of Suicidology, the USA’s leading non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of understanding and prevention of suicide and support for those who have been affected by it. It has also been selected as a finalist for Research Project of the Year in the Herald Higher Education Awards 2021.

I was an invited plenary speaker at the annual conference of the American Association of Suicidology, in April 2021. I recently took part in an #ElevateTheConvo Twitter chat about my presentation on the Suicide Reporting Toolkit for the AAS conference, which had 14.39 million impressions.

I also revised media reporting guidelines for the UK’s National Union of Journalists on Responsible Reporting of Mental Health, Mental Illness and Death by Suicide and gave evidence to the Health, Social Care and Sports Committee at the Welsh Assembly on media reporting of suicide. I have run several workshops to professional organisations on media reporting of suicide and mental health issues. 

I co-authored a book, Reporting Bad News, on the decisions journalists undertake when covering death and presented evidence on media intrusion to the Leveson Inquiry. I am currently writing a book on ethics for journalists. 

I am also an editor of the online, peer-reviewed journal, Journalism Education (https://journalism-education.org/)

I welcome applications from PhD candidates interested in media reporting of death, trauma, bereavement suicide and mental health. 

I am currently supervising students working on:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Scottish media 
  • hesitancy towards childhood vaccinations and its relationships to online media consumption. 

I have previously supervised projects on:

  • media coverage of school shootings
  • the art of the immersive feature: text, context and code.

I am currently programme director of the MLitt Digital Journalism degree where my role is to oversee the delivery, organisation and external relations of the course.

Prior to becoming an academic I worked as a journalist in the Scottish weekly press for many years, covering everything from local council meetings to high profile murder cases, after having completed postgraduate studies at Cardiff University’s prestigious journalism school. 


Using the responsible suicide reporting model to increase adherence to global media reporting guidelines
Duncan Sallyanne, Luce Ann
Journalism Vol n/a, pp. n/a (2020)
Teaching responsible suicide reporting (RSR) : using storytelling as a pedagogy to advance media reporting of suicide
Duncan Sallyanne, Luce Ann
Journalism Education Vol 9, pp. 18-31 (2020)
The ethics
Duncan Sallyanne
Trauma Reporting A Journalist's Guide to Covering Sensitive Stories (2019) (2019)
Reporting Bad News : Negotiating the Boundaries between Intrusion and Fair Representation
Duncan Sallyanne, Newton Jackie
Responsible Reporting on Mental Health, Mental Illness and Death by Suicide
Walker Claire, Davidson Fiona, Duncan Sallyanne
Emotion and trauma in reporting disaster and tragedy
Duncan Sallyanne, Newton Jackie
The Future of Humanitarian Reporting , pp. 69-74 (2014)

More publications


I am Programme Director for the MLitt Digital Journalism degree. I also teach the following classes:

  • Media Ethics (Masters)
  • Entrepreneurial Journalism and Innovation (Masters)
  • Feature writing (Year 3, undergraduate)
  • Journalism Portfolio (Year 4, undergraduate)
  • Ethical Issues in Journalism (Year 4, undergraduate)
  • Digital Journalism Academic Dissertation (Masters)
  • Digital Journalism Production Dissertation (Masters)
  • Journalism Special Project

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Association for Journalism Education, having served for six years on their executive committee. 

Research interests

Media Reporting of Suicide

Media Reporting of death, trauma and bereavement

  • Co-author of Reporting Bad News: Negotiating the boundaries between intrusion and fair representation in media coverage of death (2017, New York: Peter Lang)
  • Submitted evidence on media reporting of the bereaved to the Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press 
  • Particular interest in journalists’ reporting of ordinary citizens and their individual stories, whether in the context of a single tragic incident or in a humanitarian crisis
  • Doctoral thesis investigated the pressures placed on journalists during their reporting of traumatic events, specifically issues relating to intrusion caused by the “death knock”, where a reporter is sent to interview the bereaved relatives of a person who has died unexpectedly.

Editor of the academic journal, Journalism Education



Professional activities

Journalism Studies (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Journalism Practice (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Responsible reporting of mental health and suicide
World Journalism Education Congress
World Journalism Education Congress
Journalism Education (Journal)

More professional activities


Exploring approaches to address the emotional impact on digital journalists of working on traumatic content
Duncan, Sallyanne (Principal Investigator)
Exploring approaches to address the emotional impact on digital journalists of working on traumatic content.
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2022
Tackling gender inequalities in Scottish news
Boyle, Karen (Principal Investigator) Duncan, Sallyanne (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2019
The emotional impact of reporting death on journalists.
Duncan, Sallyanne (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2014 - 30-Jan-2015
Replication: Understanding the formation of norms and anti-social behaviour on online social networks
Duncan, Sallyanne (Co-investigator) Rogerson, Robert (Principal Investigator) McDiarmid, Alisdair (Co-investigator) Karagiannidou, Eleni (Co-investigator) Ruthven, Ian (Co-investigator) Tagg, Stephen (Co-investigator)
This is a Bridging the Gap funded project which focuses on understanding behaviour in online social networks and in particular the ways in which deviance from social norms are defined and managed.
30-Jan-2009 - 31-Jan-2010

More projects


Journalism, Media and Communication
Lord Hope Building

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