Join us Thursday

Register now and join us Thursday morning for a free webinar hosted by the Law & Justice Journalism Project: Gun Violence Reporting Reframed.

Explained: Curbing Gun Violence With a Public Health Approach

PBS Vitals interviewed our Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard, our research partner Dr. Sara Jacoby and Philadelphia gun violence prevention community leader Zarinah Lomax to produce this report on taking the same approach to gun violence that has eliminated diseases and reduced smoking deaths and car crashes.

More than 40 people attended our first Credible Messenger Link-Up and Info Session on May 6 at Temple University. We hope to launch five new reporting teams in our Credible Messenger Reporting Project soon and the first step is to apply. MORE PHOTOS AND INFO

Photographs by Kriston Jae Bethel

Imagining a new kind of championship

What if everyone in Philadelphia could get behind violence prevention the way we get behind our sports team? This is the third of three guest commentaries by gun violence survivor and activist LuQman Abdullah. Philadelphia Citizen Director of Special Projects Jessica Blatt Press was the professional partner in this collaboration supported by our Credible Messenger Reporting Project.

Sharing our story

Our team joined the Full Frame Initiative and another special guest recently to discuss how solutions might be unlocked by fundamentally shifting the way we talk about gun violence. The panel included Maxayn Gooden, Oronde McClain and Jim MacMillan from our Center as well as Cheryl Thompson-Morton, Black Media Initiative Director at the Newmark J-School at CUNY, and was moderated by Tanya Tucker, Chief of National Engagement and Partnerships at the Full Frame Initiative.

So far this year, our team has visited either virtually or in person with The Stoneleigh Foundation, Report for America, the Law & Justice Journalism Project, NBC Philadelphia, WURD Radio, The Trace, the New York Amsterdam News, Temple University, Ohio State University, Swarthmore College and the University of Colorado.

Events coming up on our calendar include visits with WDAS and Power 99 Radio in Philadelphia, UCSF/UC Berkeley, the American Psychiatric Association, the International Communications Association and The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Please help us keep it up: Make a difference. Support the Center.

Survivor perspectives

Reliving the trauma. Frustrated with inaccuracies. Feeling dehumanized. These were just some of the harmful effects that gun violence survivors described when asked how they perceived news media reporting about their injuries and about gun violence in their communities.

“Like I’m a nobody:” firearm-injured peoples’ perspectives on news media reporting about firearm violence was published recently in Social Science and Medicine: Qualitative Research in Health. READ MORE

PCGVR research and program update

We recently had the opportunity to present our work to the Firearm Injury Prevention Institute at the University of Colorado.

Journalism innovation conference

Clockwise from top left, above: Maxayn Gooden, Hanae Mason, Yvonne Latty, Oronde McClain.

Two of our staffers and two critical partners participated in a session on preventing harmful gun violence reporting on Saturday, January 28 at the Klein Camp news innovation unconference at Temple University.

Our Credible Messenger Community Manager Maxayn Gooden and Credible Messenger Newsroom Liaison Oronde McClain took part, along with Hanae Mason, who led the “Thriving” storytelling initiative at Technically Philly.

The session was moderated by Yvonne Latty, Temple Journalism Professor and director of the Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting.

Word for word

Because researchers are required to protect the anonymity of study participants, we are sharing quotes from our recent study — word for word — in dramatic readings by other Philadelphians affected by gun violence. This video was produced by Philadelphia filmmaker Shameka Sawyer and young people who have also been personally impacted by gun violence, working for the “Bout Mine I Matter” program at her 5 Shorts Project.

This just in: NPR checks in with our research director

Our director of research Dr. Jessica Beard discusses harmful gun violence reporting on Consider This. (Jump to 4:05 for Dr. Beard or listen to the whole report.)

Critical conversation

Our director of research Dr. Jessica Beard discussed our recent study on a panel with the staff of The Trace during a virtual conference on “Addressing gun violence in Black and Brown communities through journalistic solutions,” organized by the New York Amsterdam News, NYC’s oldest Black newspaper. AGENDA | VIDEO

New webinar now available

Our team participated in “Changing the Narrative on Gun Violence: The Role of Media,” a new webinar from the Stoneleigh Foundation, where they are now also seeking are seeking applications from organizations interested in hosting an Emerging Leader Fellowship focused on addressing gun violence. WATCH THE VIDEO |MORE INFO

What’s Been Done & What’s To Come

As we begin the new year, it’s appropriate to pause and reflect on all that has been accomplished in 2022. Our work won’t be finished soon but we are proud of victories at The Center and those in the larger ecosystem. READ MORE

New. Needed. Now.

This campaign will profile those working with The Center to advance empathic, ethical, and impactful journalism through research, improved journalistic practices, credible messenger reporting, and solutions-oriented convenings about Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis . Please consider making a gift today.

New. Needed. Now. – Purposeful Partnership with Yvonne Latty

During this campaign, we’ve profiled a gun violence survivora researcher, and a mother who lost her son. But, to improve media coverage of gun violence, we need members of the media at the table as well. READ MORE

New. Needed. Now. – Asking Questions with Dr. Jessica Beard.

One day, when you watch the local news, you might not see those pictures of chalk markings and police tape. You might think back to the time when episodic coverage of violence – rather than a public health approach – was the norm. You might even wonder why things changed. READ MORE

New. Needed. Now. – Endings and Beginnings with Maxayn Gooden

She helps build healing communities. She keeps her son’s legacy alive. And, much of that great work has roots in the days following Jahsun’s death. READ MORE

New. Needed. Now. – Oronde’s Time of Transformation.

Many people already know Oronde McClain’s story. In fact, Cherri Gregg of WHYY is one of the journalists that has shared it. Shortly after being interviewed by Cherri, Oronde returned with a different request. He wanted her help doing some of his own reporting. READ MORE

Better Gun Violence Reporting Workshop

Nearly 60 Philadelphia TV news journalists, community leaders and other experts came together to imagine how we can lead the way in our city to advance the most ethical, empathetic and impactful reporting possible. READ MORE

Healthcare journalism summit

Get to know us

Our director of research Dr. Jessica Beard discussed our work on Trauma Code at WBAI in New York.

Credible Messenger Film Festival, 2022

We weld our first-ever Credible Messenger Film Festival last summer, screened every short documentary we have supported to date, and followed each screening with a panel discussion including some of the community journalists, producers and professional partners behind each production as well as some of the people who appeared. READ MORE

Audio documentary

Tashawn Strother, a community journalist from our Credible Messenger Reporting Project, hosts an audio documentary sharing her family’s journey after her son Walter Willis was shot and critically wounded on New Year’s Eve in 2019. Voices include our Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard, who is also the trauma surgeon who cared for Walter – and Walter himself. LISTEN: BEHIND THE SCENES INTERVIEWS

Our Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard participated in this media panel addressing the role and responsibilities of the media. Click to play now, read about the event at Billy Penn and feel free to embed this video from YouTube.

Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit

We organized the inaugural Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit at WHYY in Philadelphia shortly in late 2019. Nearly 250 people attended from around the city and across the nation. VIEW THE INTERACTIVE AGENDA

Community Conversations Day

In advance of the Summit, we invited 15 Philadelphia journalists who play some role covering gun violence to spend a day with 30 residents from core communities impacted by the problem in the city. READ MORE

Weekly Brief: 07.07.23

Each week we share news from our Center plus local updates on gun violence and prevention from our partners at Billy Penn.

This week: New stop-and-frisk report from NYC. Join our award winners in Washington this summer. Credible Messenger Reporting Project update.

Above: Our Credible Messenger Community Manager Maxayn Gooden stands by an etched glass image of her son Jahsun at the House of the Living memorial space honoring victims of gun violence now being developed by Swarthmore College students and faculty members at FarmerJawn Community Greenhouses in Elkins Park.

Read More

Our programs

The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting was launched to explore the hypotheses that changing the way some journalists and news organizations cover gun violence can prevent shootings and save lives. Since then, our research collaborative has refined this focus by identifying harmful reporting practices, asking what best practices would look like and how they could be implemented. Now, we have organized our work into three closely-aligned programs:

CREDIBLE MESSENGER REPORTING: Our community reporting project empowers people impacted by gun violence to report on root causes, lived experience and possible solutions from the community perspective. Credible Messengers are paired with advanced professional journalists to learn from each other and leverage their combined authority to produce and distribute independent news reports. READ MORE

RESEARCH AT THE CENTER: We facilitate an interdisciplinary research collaborative that is exploring the intersection of gun violence, impacted communities and the media. Our Director or Research Dr. Jessica Beard presented our work last spring at the SAVIR conference in Washington. Dr. Jennifer Midberry presented at ICA in Paris. READ MORE

BETTER GUN VIOLENCE REPORTING: What does the most ethical, impactful and empathetic reporting look like when covering community gun violence? We collaborate with journalists, community representatives and other experts to advance reporting practices. READ MORE


• About the Center
• Who we are
• Better Gun Violence Reporting
• Credible Messenger Reporting Project
• Research at the Center
• Trauma & Care
• Data Catalog
• Philadelphia Data
• Media Mentions
• Free Weekly Brief
• Support the Center
• Search this site
• Send us a Message

• Have you been affected?
• Need help now?
• In memoriam

• The Stoneleigh Foundation
• Independence Public Media Foundation
• Spring Point Partners
• Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund
• The Lenfest Institute for Journalism
• The Alfred and Mary Douty Foundation
• Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri
• Philadelphia Office of Violence Prevention
• The Barra Foundation Directors Grant Program

In-kind contributors
• Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists
• Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri
• Mothers in Charge
• AH Datalytics
• Action Tank
• The Scattergood Foundation
• Resolve Philly
• Fels Lab at the University of Pennsylvania

Community Partners
• Mothers in Charge
• YEAH Philly
• Zero Homicides Now
• Need in Deed

Media Partners
• WHYY & Billy Penn
• The Trace & Up the Block
• Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists
• 5 Shorts Project
• Kouvenda Media
• Seeking Solutions: Gun Violence in Missouri
• Philadelphia Obituary Project
• Resolve Philly, Broke in Philly, The Toll and the Germantown Info Hub
• WURD Radio
• Columbia Journalism Review
• The Student Vanguard at Community College of Philadelphia
• Revive Radio

Summit partner institutions
• Reynolds Journalism Institute, University of Missouri
• Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma as Columbia University
• The Lenfest Institute for Journalism
• The Trace
• The Guardian: Guns and Lies
• Coalition of Trauma Centers for Firearm Injury Prevention
• Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions
• Guns & America, WAMU
• Mothers in Charge

Credible Messenger Reports
• They Don’t Care About Us – or Do They?
• Stronger Every Day: Healing After Gun Violence
• These Philly Gun Violence Activists Are Not Giving Up On Saving Lives
• Humanity behind the headlines: Black men on surviving in Philly
• Never Ending Emotions
• The Lasting Impact: The emotional scars that gun violence leaves behind
• The Path Forward
• Numb to Normalcy: Gun Violence in America
• Voices Beyond the Gunfire

• Apply to become a Credible Messenger community journalist
• Apply to become a professional reporting partner
• Request to invite Professional Reporting Partner
• Resources for Credible Messenger Reporting Teams
• Credible Messenger Project Proposal Form
• Frequently asked questions

Local data
• Philadelphia Shooting Victims Dashboard
• Philadelphia Shooting Victims: Past 48 months
• Philadelphia and Pennsylvania open data and related resources

Philadelphia press club honors PCGVR with Philly News Award

Credible Messenger community journalists P.O.C. and Kim Kamara picked up the plaque when our Center was recognized as “Nontraditional News Provider of the Year” in the 2023 Philly News Awards from the Pen and Pencil Club, Philadelphia’s press club. We accept this honor on behalf of the dozens of gun violence survivors, co-victims and others who have participated in our Credible Messenger Reporting Project. Apply now to participate.

Healing through storytelling

Before joining our staff, Oronde McClain produced a report for our Credible Messenger Reporting Project. Then, he wrote about his experience for The Philadelphia Inquirer, titled: I was shot in the head as a child. It took 20 years, and other survivors, to heal

Changing the way we talk about gun violence

Above: Our journalism research leader Dr. Jennifer Midberry of Lehigh University discusses our research collaborative while visiting Temple University

She also wrote an update for the Temple University Faculty Herald. READ IT NOW

Progress Report

Take a look at us now, in this new report from Billy Penn: Can journalism that centers community help stop shootings? PCGVR is betting on it

Media mentions

05.25.23: Curbing Gun Violence With a Public Health Approach [PBS VItals]

05.17.23: Why Some Mass Shootings — And Their Victims — Go Uncounted [Undark]

04.12.23: Evening WURDS: interview with our Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard [WURD Radio via Facebook] (Segment begins at 30:00.)

04.03.23: Reframing Gun Violence: Wellbeing & Narrative Shift [Full Frame Initiative]

03.15.21: Changing the Narrative on Gun Violence Reporting in Philadelphia [CU Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative]

03.01.23: True Believers [Philadelphia Magazine]

02.28.23: From Sorrow to Solutions – Virtual Convening [New York Amsterdam News]

02.23.23: These Philadelphia Researchers Want Journalists to Tell Better Stories About Gun Violence [The Trace]

01.29.23: Changing the Way Media Reports on Gun Violence [Consider This on NPR] (Segment begins at 4:05.)

01.17.23: A new gun violence narrative [The Philadelphia Citizen]

01.10.23: ‘Like I’m a nobody’: Breaking news coverage of shootings is dehumanizing and delays progress, per new Temple study [Billy Penn]

01.09.23: Evening WURDS: interview with our Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard [WURD Radio via Facebook] (Segment begins at 27:45.)

01.05.23: Save Our Streets: A Year of Hope [FOX 29] (Segment begins at 16:14.)

12.15.22: Credible Messenger Reporting Project uses art to shed light on gun violence in Philadelphia [FOX 29]

12.11.22: Addressing Philadelphia’s Gun Violence Epidemic [The Stoneleigh Foundation via YouTube]

12.07.22: Understanding American Gun Violence Part 2: How to solve the American gun epidemic [Temple Now]

12.07.22: Understanding American Gun Violence Part 1: The evolution of America’s relationship with firearms [Temple Now]

11.30.22: Gun Violence Reporting with Dr. Jessica Beard [Trauma Code]

11.28.22: Can journalism that centers community help stop shootings? PCGVR is betting on it [Billy Penn]

11.09.22: More meaningful coverage of firearm violence requires ‘radical empathy [Association of Health Care Journalists]

11.09.22: BAND-AID on a Bullet Wound [SoundCloud]

10.31.22: Fall summit speaker Jessica Beard targets more empathetic, ethical coverage of gun violence [Association of Health Care Journalists]

10.17.22: Changing the Way We Talk About Gun Violence [Temple University Faculty Herald]

10.05.22: How local news can help heal Philly’s gun violence crisis without harming communities [Billy Penn]

08.17.22: I was shot in the head as a child. It took 20 years, and other survivors, to heal [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

07.02.22: Why it’s time to rethink the ‘last place you’d expect a shooting’ narrative [All Things Considered]

06.15.22: STRONGER EVERY DAY [The Philadelphia Citizen]

06.06.22: At least 13 killed, dozens wounded in weekend mass shootings across U.S.: “Horrendous and unthinkable” [CBS Evening News]

06.04.22: Jim MacMillan Discusses Gun Violence Reporting [The Healthcare Policy Podcast]

05.26.22: ‘Love them, lead them’: Advocates say parents play a major role in stopping youth gun violence [WHYY]

04.18.22: Philadelphia’s ‘Devastating’ Surge in Gun Violence [The Trace]

04.19.22: Frequency of mass shootings in Philadelphia increased after start of COVID-19 pandemic [Philly Voice]

02.24.22: Humanity behind the headlines: Black men on surviving in Philly [WHYY]

01.19.22: Preventing Gun Violence Through Better Reporting [Philadelphia Ethical Society]

04.14.22: How The Trace Changed Reporting on Guns in America [Arnold Ventures]

04.13.22: Fewer police stats, more community engagement sought at Philly gun violence briefings [WHYY]

04.02.22: Stop doing ‘breaking news’ for more accurate gun violence coverage, panel says [Billy Penn]

12.08.21: Inquirer LIVE Health Report: Gun violence is soaring in Philadelphia [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

09.21.21: Flashpoint: Community relations and trust in media [KYW Newsradio]

09.08.21: Temple trauma surgeon earns fellowship aimed at curbing gun violence [Temple Now]

08.26.21: New Media Partnership [The Student Vanguard]

08.17.21: ‘Some of these killings are for the dumbest reasons’: What’s driving Philly’s bloody summer? [Pennsylvania Capital-Star]

07.29.21: Gun violence and community trauma in the Covid-19 pandemic [WHYY]

07.28.21: Dr. Jessica H. Beard – Trauma Surgeon, Changing the Narrative on Gun Violence [Narratives of North Broad Podcast]

07.26.21: Addressing Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis [Al Día News]


07.13.21: Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis in Phila. – Jul 15 [PHENND]

06.03.21: Power moves: New appointments at Equal Measure, PCGVR, Reinvestment Fund, Inspira Health and Bestwork [Generocity]

06.02.21: Dr. Jessica H. Beard Named Stoneleigh Fellow and Philadelphia Center For Gun Violence Reporting‘s Director Of Research [The Stoneleigh Foundation]

06.02.21: Hidden Costs: Gun Violence, The Healthcare Aftermath, and Who Pays? [Love Now Media]

04.15.21: A Mass Shooting? Depends on the Source [Inside Sources]

04.06.21: Gun Violence News Summit [Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma]

03.30.21: 17 shot during weekend violence in Philadelphia; gun violence prevention organization works for change [6ABC]

03.28.21: Flashpoint: Responding to gun violence – more police and transparency [KYW Newsradio]

03.24.21: US saw estimated 4,000 extra murders in 2020 amid surge in daily gun violence [The Guardian]

03.18.21: Mayor Kenney’s new gun briefings must be more than police press conferences | Opinion [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

02.12.21: New Study Suggests Connection Between COVID-19 Shutdowns and Gun Violence in Philadelphia [Temple Update]

02.12.21: COVID-19 Containment Measures Linked to Increase in Firearm Violence [Columbia Public Health]

02.11.21: Temple study finds link between Philadelphia’s COVID lockdowns, rising gun violence [6ABC]

02.11.21: Where Shootings Doubled Post-Lockdown [The Trace]

02.11.21: ‘This is unprecedented’: Study finds link between COVID lockdowns and shootings in Philly [WHYY]

02.08.21: ‘Living in a warzone’: Philadelphians petition mayor to address resolution on gun violence [The Daily Pennsylvanian]

12.07.20: Reporting on gun violence needs the help of credible messengers, says PCGVR’s Jim MacMillan [Generocity]

10.28.20: When Does Murder Make The News? It Depends On The Victim’s Race [The Marshall Project]

10.28.20: What data can and can’t tell us about shooting deaths in Philadelphia [Technically Philly]

09.01.20: Can Community Journalists Disrupt Gun Violence in Philadelphia? [Nonprofit Quarterly]

08.24.20: Member Spotlight: Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting [CultureWorks]

08.04.20: Creating a new Center for Gun Violence Reporting in Philadelphia [PCGVR]

01.20.20: Leadership Profile of Jim MacMillan [Social Innovations Journal]

12.03.19: Former Temple administrator creates tool to track gun violence [The Temple News]

11.22.19: What Journalists Can Do To Report More Effectively — and Compassionately — on Gun Violence [Nieman Reports]

11.20.19: A mom complains about gun violence stories. Philly journalists respond with resources [Reynolds Journalism Institute]

11.20.19: Temple doctor working to change how mass shootings are perceived in urban areas [KYW Newsradio]

11.12.19: Bias, Sensationalism Distort Media Coverage of Gun Violence, Conference Told [The Crime Report]

10.28.20: What data can and can’t tell us about shooting deaths in Philadelphia [Technically Philly]

10.20.20: Study: Media’s Reporting on Gun Violence Does Not Reflect Reality [Penn Medicine News]

10.04.20: Making the news: Victim characteristics associated with media reporting on firearm injury [National Library of Medicine]

10.20.19: Can reporters prevent gun violence? This Philadelphia journalist wants to find out [Pennsylvania Capital-Star]

09.07.19: Why is gun violence in Philly ‘exploding’ when solutions exist? [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

07.22.19: Recap: Community Discussion on Media Coverage of Gun Violence in Germantown [Medium]

07.15.19: Germantown Solutions: Jim MacMillan on Gun Violence Coverage [Germantown Info Hub]

04.23.19: Trauma doctors treat mass gun violence in Philly [The Temple News]

04.15.19: Hospitals see Phila. version of violence [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

04.15.19: Gun violence in Philly: ‘An everyday mass shooting,’ Temple study finds [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

04.10.19: Philly sees the equivalent of a mass shooting every 3 months [Billy Penn]

04.02.19: This journalist will spend a year creating guidelines for America’s gun violence reporting [Billy Penn]

08.03.18: To understand Philly’s gun violence crisis, in-depth reporting is needed | Opinion [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Mailing address

The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting
c/o The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting
CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia
1315 Walnut Street, Suite 320
Philadelphia, PA 19107


If you or someone you know is suicidal, in crisis, or in need of general mental health support, please know help is available. You can contact your physician, local hospital emergency room, or any of the hotlines, text lines, web chats, and support groups listed below. Most are free and confidential resources. Many are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988
Crisis Text Line: 741741
• Lifeline Chat web chat service
Samaritans’ Helpline: (877) 870-4673 (available in 240+ languages)

Journalists: Take this online course on Responsible Reporting on Suicide. (You can audit for free or pay to get certified.)


The Philadelphia Center Gun Violence Reporting is the primary project of The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting. The Initiative is co-managed with fiscal sponsorship by CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia and is a member of CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia.


Each Wednesday morning we share news, research, data, opinions and community responses related to gun violence and prevention in Philadelphia. You can subscribe for free.


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