Tips for shifting gun violence reporting toward a public health lens


While much news coverage of firearm violence is reported through the lens of crime and politics, experts say this framing overemphasizes mass shootings and fails communities seeking solutions to gun violence. On Feb. 9, experts shared their advice on how to shift story framing to one that emphasizes solutions, prevention methods and data.  

  • Be aware there is no official federal definition of the word ”mass shooting.” Congress defines a mass shooting as “three or more killings in a single incident,” and the FBI defines mass murder as “four people or more” killed in a single event. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks gun deaths, it doesn’t track mass shootings. The lack of clarity skews the narrative about how and where gun violence is occurring across the country.
  •  Build your network of sources beyond police to include public health professionals and violence prevention experts. Include the voices of families and firearm injury survivors in stories. Many stories only feature law enforcement voices, which can contribute to the public’s perception that only police, and individuals armed with guns, can prevent firearm violence. 

Read more from the National Press Club Journalism Institute