Covering Gun Violence
Reporting on gun violence – whether single incidents, policy prescriptions or polarized political debate – is a major challenge for journalists and news organizations. On an average day, 91 Americans die of firearm-related injuries, including nearly 12,000 murdered with guns each year. Nearly two-thirds of gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides. Seven children and teens are killed with guns on an average day and in the average month, 51 women are shot and killed by intimate partners.
These reporting challenges are particularly acute in the Midwest, amid escalating homicide rates in cities, surging handgun ownership across the region and contentious gun politics in state capitols.
Across the region, local reporters bear the primary burden for covering gun violence and crime. But criminal justice reporters are often frustrated by tight, deadline-driven beats with little time to inform their coverage with expert sources, investigative angles or broader evidence-informed perspectives. Political journalists often find themselves pigeonholed into the narrow back and forth of electoral contests or legislative debates. Newsrooms and news managers are often unprepared for the overwhelming, spasmodic tragedy of mass shootings.
In response to these challenges, the Dart Center organized a two-day regional reporting institute for 35 journalists February 10-11, 2017 at WBEZ in Chicago. The institute, supported by the Joyce Foundation and the Fund for a Safer Future, a project of the New Venture Fund, offered evidence-driven expert briefings and specialized reporting skills training to enhance the practical ability of journalists to report on guns and gun violence knowledgeably, ethically and effectively.
Resources, including expert briefing materials and transcripts are available. Full workshop video can be found in the gallery below: