In the spotlight: Esteemed journalism organizations check in on PCGVR

Above: The PCGVR team collaborated on dozens of events last year.

We introduced several new resources to support better gun violence reporting during the first six months of this year, we presented them online and in person, and we found the topic recognized in some important new places. Recently, we have been getting some attention from some of the nation’s most esteemed journalism organizations.

• Philly news stations use harmful tactics to report on firearm violence, studies say [Associations of Health Care Journalists]
• Getting started with a gun violence prevention beat [Reynolds Journalism Institute]
• Research highlights need for public health approach in news reporting of gun violence [The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy]
• More media mentions: PCGVR in the News

Subscribe to our free Weekly Brief email newsletter to keep up with our activities. Scroll down to get our new Better Gun Violence Reporting Toolkit for free as well.

Years of work in one concise guide, available for free

News coverage of gun violence often inadvertently perpetuates stereotypical narratives about the people and communities most impacted. Typical coverage focuses on individual episodes of gun violence and often lacks an explanation of what causes it and what could be done to prevent it. These reporting practices can further stigmatize marginalized communities and promote fatalism around gun violence prevention. By changing the way gun violence is covered, reporters can take an active role in minimizing harm to injured people, communities, and society—and even make an important contribution toward preventing gun violence.

The need for this toolkit was identified by participants during PCGVR’s 2022 Better Gun Violence Reporting Workshop, which was produced in partnership with The Better Lab, a human-centered design venture working to study and fix health care challenges. Twenty-six journalists representing every major Philadelphia news organization, 10 gun violence prevention advocates from impacted communities, nine staffers from PCGVR, and 25 participants from partnering organizations attended. This report was produced collaboratively with the FrameWorks Institute, which conducted the research.


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On gun violence prevention reporting

PCGVR director of research Dr. Jessica Beard introduced our new Better Gun Violence Reporting Toolkit at Health Journalism 2024 in New York recently, while participating on a panel titled “In your lane: Covering America’s biggest public health crisis.”

From left:Dr. Beard, Dr. Ruth Abaya of The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention and Jennifer Mascia of The Trace

• More info and photos: PRGVR research director presents at Health Journalism 2024
• Panel recap: Why gun violence is a public health emergency
• Related:  Covering Firearm Violence — How journalists can reframe their reporting

Hundreds attend Philadelphia premiere of The Second Trauma documentary

PCGVR newsroom liaison Oronde McClain takes a question from host Loraine Ballard Morrill. Photograph for PCGVR by Kriston Jae Bethel.

Hundreds of people joined us at the Temple Performing Arts Center on April 17 for the Philadelphia premiere of The Second Trauma, our documentary addressing the harmful effects of episodic gun violence news reporting and possible solutions, produced in collaboration with the Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting at Temple University.

To learn more, see photos, listen to the panel discussions and request a screening: Hundreds attend Philadelphia premiere of The Second Trauma documentary  

Two new studies led by PCGVR research director examine local TV news coverage of gun violence

Above: Researchers participating in the interdisciplinary collaborative led by Dr. Jessica Beard met recently at Temple University Hospital to discuss future studies. from left are: Dr. Christopher Morrison, Assistant Professor at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; Raha Raissian, Medical student at Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine; Siena Wanders, Medical student at Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine; Dr. Beard, Dr. Anita Wamakima, Temple General Surgery resident; Dr. Jennifer Midberry, Associate Professor at Temple University Klein College; Dr. Evan Eschliman, Post-doctoral research fellow at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; and Tyrone Muns, Temple nurse and research assistant. Photographs for PCGVR by Kriston Jae Bethel.

Two new studies led by PCGVR Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard have been published:

Systematic disparities in reporting on community firearm violence on local television news in Philadelphia, PA, USA [Preventive Medicine Reports]

Public health framing of firearm violence on local television news in Philadelphia, PA, USA: a quantitative content analysis [BMC Public Health]

“News stories may be the only window into community firearm violence that the general public has, and they often are not getting a complete picture, but instead one that research has indicated can lead audiences to blame victims, reinforce racist stereotypes and undermine effective public health responses.” – PCGVR Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard.

Press release and contact info: Two New Studies Led by Lewis Katz School of Medicine’s Dr. Jessica Beard More Closely Examine How Reports of Community Firearm Violence Are Framed on Local Television News in Philadelphia [Temple Health News]

PCGVR 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 Project

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

Interdisciplinary research colllaborative

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

Most of the photographs on this site: by Kriston Jae Bethel for PCGVR.

We are proud of our progress and excited to contribute significantly to addressing Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis while shaping journalism practices along the way. But we need your help.

Weekly shooting victim update

Twenty-seven shooting victims were recorded from July 7 through July 13 in Philadelphia, including six fatalities, according to city data. During the previous week: 26 shooting victims were recorded, including four fatalities.

Weekly Brief: 07.11.24

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

This week: Progress amid tragedies. Halfway report: Breaking through in 2024.

Read More

Watch the trailer: The Second Trauma

The Second Trauma documentary tour is underway. We are visiting colleges and universities, journalism conferences, newsrooms and other organizations. To request an exclusive screening and expert panel discussion, visit:

PCGVR director of research leading new NIH grant

A new two-year, $450,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health builds on previous research from PCGVR research director Dr. Jessica Beard, pictured at top, right above during a meeting of our research collaborative in 2022. She will be joined in the study by Prof. Jennifer Midberry at Lehigh University, seated at left above and Prof. Christopher N. Morrison at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. READ MORE

New project: The Survivor Connection

When our latest project launches, Philadelphia journalists will have free and swift mobile access to community-based expert sources including gun violence survivors, co-victims and other impacted individuals.

People with lived experience will have access to paid training in trauma and media literacy and may opt in and out of participating in the expert source program at will.

The Survivor Connection project is led by PCGVR Newsroom Liaison and survivor Oronde McClain, pictured above, thanks to support from his Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader Fellowship. LEARN MORE | CONTACT US

Certification workshop feedback, outcomes and next steps

02.16.24: PCGVR director Jim MacMillan and Alaina Bookman of discussed our recent Gun Violence Prevention Reporter Certification Workshop in this webinar hosted by the Association of Health Care Journalists.


• About the Center
• Who We Are
• Community Reporting
• Interdisciplinary Research
• Professional Development
• Media Mentions
• Free Weekly Brief

• The Stoneleigh Foundation
• Independence Public Media Foundation
• Spring Point Partners
The William Penn Foundation
• 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
• 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

Need help in Philadelphia?


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.)

Mailing address

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


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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