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Filming on BART
Credentialed television news media wanting access to the paid area of BART, need to contact a member of the Communications team so clearance can be given to the Station Agent and the Operations Control Center. For safety reasons, please do not use tri-pods, cables and lights on crowded platforms in addition to no live shots on crowded platforms. Others looking to film on BART need a permit which can be obtained in the film permit section.
BART Board of Directors
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Details on BART's legacy train car can be found at http://www.bart.gov/about/history/cars
The media can help prevent suicide contagion
Great care should be given to the way in which suicides are reported in the media. Improper reporting techniques can lead to suicide contagion (copycat suicides). The way suicides and train strikes are reported in the media can either cause suicides or prevent suicide.
The following recommendations are for responsible media reporting to prevent copycat incidents.
- Do not include the term “suicide” in the headline of an article.
- Do not provide detailed information on where a suicide occurred and do not show detailed pictures of the locations where the suicides occurred.
- Do not provide vivid depictions and details of the event. This can create imagery that a vulnerable individual may relate to and consider acting upon. This includes details about behaviors immediately before train-person collisions.
- Do not include an image of a train. Although including an image of a train may seem reasonable, doing so depicts the manner of suicide, which is strongly discouraged.
- Do not begin a television newscast with a suicide story.
- Do not place suicide stories on the cover of newspapers or magazines.
- Never say that a suicide “ended pain” or “ended suffering.”
- Be careful with the wordings of headlines.
- Be careful with all of the words that are used in the story.
- Do not say “committed suicide” say “died by suicide.”
- Always include information for those seeking help. The national suicide hotline numbers, which are 1-800-SUICIDE and 1-800-273-TALK.
Analyzing online media reporting of rail suicide and trespass incidents
A report published by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) explains how the reporting of a suicide death in the media has the potential to increase imitative suicide attempts for vulnerable individuals who read the article, a phenomenon known as suicide contagion.
Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) collected 1,173 online media articles about FRA-reported suicide and trespass incidents over the course of 12 months and found several reporting practices with the potential to increase suicide contagion on the rail system. Many media outlets in the study reported on suicide and trespass incidents in a manner consistent with recommendations. Still, many articles reported in ways that could lead to copycat incidents.
By looking at the patterns of incidents, the authors identify articles that had the potential to result in a copycat attempt. For example, in New Jersey there were six rail suicide incidents during the study timeframe. Two of those six incidents occurred within one week of the previous incident. In both cases, at least one of the reports about the first incident highlighted the act of suicide by using “suicide” in the headline, and in several cases described the actions of the individual involved.
Based on the findings of this research, the Volpe Center concluded that the development of rail-specific recommendations for how to report on railway fatalities could help to encourage more responsible reporting practices and thus mitigate the risk of suicide contagion.
BART experiences suicide clusters
BART specifically has experienced clusters of suicide incidents following extensive media coverage of suicides. In recent years, twice we have experienced two incidents on the same day. We also had three incidents in a two-week period, and two incidents within the same week. We had a suicide death occur 12 hours following extensive media coverage of a person in crisis lying on our tracks but then helped up to safety by passengers.
BART’s crisis intervention campaign
In April 2015, BART launched a crisis intervention campaign posted in our stations that was developed in cooperation with area mental health professionals and agencies. The agencies involved are all part of BASCIA (Bay Area Suicide & Crisis Intervention Alliance).
We posted the crisis hotline number on all platforms and printed the number on the back of paper tickets. We added special training for frontline BART staff on how to recognize and help a person in crisis. We distributed National Suicide Lifeline wallet cards provided by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration in all stations. Each Station Agent booth have the cards available.
We are also doing a pilot of platform edge doors at 12th Street Station. This would be the first time that platform edge doors have been added to an existing North American transit system. Currently the BART pilot is in the stage of determining feasibility and advancing design for a pilot project.
BART spokespeople follow a script when providing details to reporters and the public about these incidents to try to guide responsible reporting. We also changed our official BART Service Advisory message from “Person Under a Train” to “Major Medical Emergency” for these incidents based on the advice of BASCIA. They told us “person under a train” is too graphic and may trigger someone else in crisis.
BART will closely follow Volpe’s next research phase
FRA and Volpe will work with rail carriers to pilot and evaluate a strategy to improve media reporting. This initial pilot will focus on the Northeast Rail Corridor to test and evaluate an initial strategy within a relatively small geographic region.
FRA and Volpe will:
- Identify Northeast Rail Corridor stakeholders who may have a role in promoting responsible reporting. These may include journalists, editors, rail officials, police officials, train crews, first responders, and community members interviewed about an incident.
- Develop specific recommendations for each stakeholder that detail how they may improve their communications about a rail incident.
- Define a strategy to engage with stakeholders and disseminate recommendations so they may be used by all involved with the media.
- Work with stakeholders to assess the impact of these recommendations and modify as needed.
BART will closely follow this research and the recommendations that follow.