Midwest Reporting Institute on Covering Gun Violence

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The Dart Center offered a two-day reporting institute on covering gun violence for journalists reporting in the Midwest, February 10 and 11 in Chicago, Illinois. A select number of institute participants will be awarded three to six month reporting fellowships for 2017.

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.

To help journalists and news organizations in the Midwest strengthen their reporting on guns and gun violence, the Dart Center is organizing a two-day regional reporting institute February 10 and 11 for reporters, editors, news directors, photographers, producers and digital journalists. The institute, supported by the Joyce Foundation and the Fund for a Safer Future, a project of the New Venture Fund, will offer 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. The institute will cover topics including state and federal gun laws; patterns of gun sales and gun trafficking; education and prevention initiatives; social, economic and public health impacts; reporting on gun-violence survivors; and effects on special populations such as women and children.

Institute speakers include a wide range of national public health and policy experts; researchers and clinicians; award-winning journalists, and prevention advocates and survivors including:


Institute participants will be eligible to apply for three to six month Dart Center reporting fellowships focused on covering guns and gun violence. Up to 10 fellowships will be awarded for individual projects or collaborations between institute participants. Awards will range from $7,500 - $12,000 depending on the scope and specific needs of the project. Fellowship applications will be made available exclusively to institute participants in March 2017.


Participation is open to reporters, editors, news directors, photographers and producers for print, broadcast and online media covering stories in the Great Lakes region (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.)

Staff, contract and freelance journalists are eligible to apply. Thirty journalists will be selected for the institute. All costs associated with attending – airfare or trainfare, ground transportation, two nights of lodging and meals during the institute  – will be covered by the Dart Center. Applicants will be notified with a decision on their application by December 15, 2016.

The deadline for applications is November 28 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

To apply, complete the online application here.

This institute is made possible by generous grants from the Joyce Foundation and Fund for a Safer Future.

If you have questions or need additional information, please email Kate Black at [email protected]