Better Gun Violence Reporting Workshop, 2022

Cheryl Thompson-Morton, Black Media Initiative Director for the Center for Community Media at the Craig Newmark School of Graduate Journalism, was the keynote speaker at our Better Gun Violence Reporting Workshop. Her talk was titled: Reimagining Gun Violence Reporting. Ernest Owens, at right, is the president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, Editor at Large for Philadelphia Magazine and CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC, and hosted the event.

On September 28, 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. We spent the day together on the grounds of the historic Wyck House in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Featured presentations included:

• Journalism and Trauma: Yvonne Latty, Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting at Temple University
• Stories of Empathy and Love: Jos Duncan Asé, Love Now Media
• Reclaiming the Narrative: Maxayn Gooden & Oronde McClain, The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting. Denise James of Love Now Media and Temple University Journalism moderated.
• Gun Violence Prevention Resources: Mensah Dean, The Trace

Workshop discussions, brainstorming, prototype development, pitches, voting and commitments made up most of the day and were designed and facilitated by the team from The Better Lab.

We aren’t revealing the identities of individual participants – except for those on the presentation agenda – because we adopted the Chatham House Rule to help create a trusted environment, but we can share that at least 70 people were in attendance and identified primarily as:

• 26 journalists, representing every major Philadelphia news organization
• 10 gun violence prevention advocates from impacted communities
• 9 staffers and research partners from our Center
• 6 participants from leading journalism support organizations
• 6 attendees from organizations that support our work
• 5 facilitators from the Better Lab
• 5 event staffers and…
• 3 journalism educators

Numerous participants identified with multiple roles, including five who previously participated as community journalism in our Credible Messenger Reporting Project. We will report back in greater detail and enhance this page during the coming days and weeks but for now you can get a first glance at the gathering by checking our hashtag: #BGVR22.

And don’t miss the report from Billy Penn: How local news can help heal Philly’s gun violence crisis without harming communities

Next, we are analyzing data from the event and developing next steps. Soon, we will announce the initiatives we plan to move forward and start making plans to reconvene next year to share learnings, iterate, and/or pivot and reimplement initiatives.

Maxayn Gooden, left and Oronde McClain share their experiences with gun violence, the media and reclaiming their narratives by telling their own stories with Denise James of Love Now Media and Temple University.

We are grateful to every attendee, partner and supporter but we especially want to thank the funders who made this workshop possible, including Spring Point PartnersThe Stoneleigh Foundation and the Independence Public Media Foundation.

We also want to thank April Burks and everyone at Pink Social Strategies for event planning and production, the team from Kim Kooks catering, our hosts at the historic Wyck House, Garden and Farm, our social media manager Krystal Knapp and our reporting partners at Billy Penn. Finally, we are grateful to the staff at CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia for their endless, prompt and responsive service and for always looking out for us.

This was our first in-person event since we organized the Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit shortly before the pandemic, using hashtag: #BGVR2019. Since then we have been participating publicly in webinars and collaborating on news reports, as well as advancing our three main programs. To keep up with future events, activities and opportunities at the Center, please consider subscribing to our free Weekly Brief on Gun Violence and Prevention in Philadelphia.

During the workshop, we shared quotes such as this one about media coverage from recent Philadelphia gun violence survivors who have participated in our research interviews.