Credible Messenger Reporting Project

Latest project: “Humanity behind the headlines: Black men on surviving in Philly”

Pictured above: Sadiq Sellers, 43, said he’s ready for a fresh start in life. Photographs by Ronald Gray.
Pictured above: Sadiq Sellers, 43, said he’s ready for a fresh start in life. Photographs by Ronald Gray.

“Lost in the calls to action and gruesome headlines are the real lived experiences of young Black men in communities where gun violence is not a news story, a tragic anomaly, or a talking point for evening news anchors, but a routine fact of everyday life.”

Tyler Campbell authored the latest work from the Credible Messenger Reporting project:

Humanity behind the headlines: Black men on surviving in Philly

Dana DiFilippo was the professional parter on this project. Photographs by Ronald Gray. Originally published at WHYY.org.


Video documentaries

This documentary features a series of interviews addressing the emotional rollercoaster of life-changing events following the murder of a family member and discussing possible solutions to gun violence in Philadelphia. More info: Never Ending Emotions
“Numb to Normalcy: Gun Violence in America” is the latest video documentary produced with support from the Credible Messenger Reporting Project here at the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting. This video features intimate conversations among Ahmad Mitchell, Taylor Dixon-Moore and Yolanda Brutley-Dugger, students at Community College of Philadelphia. It was directed by Proof of Consciousness (P.O.C.) with assistant directors Aapril Rice (Breezy Digital) and Alisha Laws (Exhibit A Art Design.)
A new short documentary called “The Path Forward” shares a conversation among four mothers who lost sons to gun violence in Philadelphia, sharing intimate experiences from first getting the news to learning how to survive. This is the second production made possible with support from the Credible Messenger Reporting Project and debuts in a time when gun violence has been rising steeply in the city for the second year in a row.

More info: Mothers discuss life after losing their sons to gun violence
Behind the scenes: Moms reflect on producing “The Path Forward”
The first production from the Credible Messenger Reporting Project focuses on three co-victims of gun violence who worked together to show the long-lasting effects it can have on friends, family and community members. More info: The Lasting Impact

Voices Beyond the Gunfire

Solomon Jones with Darrell Holloway, left, and Edwin “Tony” Murchison

Solomon Jones of WURD Radio curated “Voices Beyond the Gunfire,” a series of five radio interviews — conducted by three interviewers — with young men from ManUpPHL’s Listening to the Streets initiative discussing real-life experiences, exploring causes and effects of gun violence and weighing the human cost. This series elevates the voices that have not been heard on the issue of gun violence: those whose very lives are at risk. They offer insights that come only with experience, and we believe that their unique and innovative answers will help us to reach our goal: solving gun violence.

Darrell Holloway

Darrell Holloway was shot when he was 17 years old and continues to live with the consequences. Holloway shares his compelling story of struggle and resilience with Khali Younger, who left the streets and the prison system to become a registered nurse.

Edwin “Tony” Murchison

Award-winning journalist Solomon Jones interviews Edwin “Tony” Murchison, who was shot in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Murchison’s experience with gun violence mirrors that of his father. Now Murchison is trying to build a different legacy.

Angela Sears

Brian Wallace, a former juvenile lifer who served 46 years in prison, remade his life after being released in 2018. He interviews Angela Sears, who lost her daughter to gun violence in the streets of Lawncrest. The murder was caught on tape, but no one has been convicted.

Brian Wallace

Award-winning journalist Solomon Jones interviews Brian Wallace, a former juvenile lifer who was jailed at 14 and served 46 years in prison for his role in a robbery that ended with a murder. Wallace explains his upbringing in South Philadelphia, his prison transformation, and his role to redemption.

Joshua Cosby

Former juvenile lifer Brian Wallace has had his experiences with gun violence. So has 30-year-old Joshua Cosby. Now the two men, who are nearly two generations apart, discuss the similarities and differences between their stories, and talk about solutions for the future.

The Credible Messenger 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 news reports, with financial support provided by the Center.

Apply to participate

We are now accepting applications for community journalists and professional partners to participate in the next round of the Credible Messenger Reporting Project. Applications will be approved on a rolling basis.

Meet the messengers

During the first 12 months, this project provided support to 17 Credible Messenger reporters and producers as well as eight advanced professional journalists, some of whom also have significant lived experience, and two partnering community organizations.

Taj Devore-Bey, co-producer of “The Lasting Impact,” spoke with CBS3 after a screening at the Awbury Arboretum in Germantown. Learn more about the team and their experience producing the film and listen to them discuss their work following the online premiere.
Kimberly Kamara produced and narrated “Never Ending Emotions” and organized a screening and community conversation on Rittenhouse Square.
Aleida Garcia and Vernetta Santiful were among four members of the Mothers in Charge violence prevention community who participated in “The Path Forward.”
Clockwise from left: Credible Messenger Reporting Project teammates P.O.C., Ahmad Mitchell, Aapril Rice (Breezy Digital) and Alisha Laws (Exhibit A Art Design) gathered for a photo following a screening of “Numb to Normalcy” at the Community Education Center in West Philadelphia.

Refining and replicating The Credible Messenger Reporting Project

We have been contacted by a community gun violence prevention organization in Milwaukee, a non-profit hospital in Muskegon, Michigan and a gun violence prevention center at a hospital in Boston – all interested in replicating the program and exploring the impact it could have in their communities.

Now, all four groups are banding together to explore the possibility of developing a model for replication and implementation in cities across the nation, but we are going to need some help.

If you find this idea as inspiring as we do and have time to discuss our approach and advise us on next steps, we would love to know what you think.

More info: Refining and Replicating The Credible Messenger Reporting Project