Credible Messenger Reporting Project: Frequently asked questions

What is the goal of this project?

The Credible Messenger Reporting Project was created in response to the events of 2020 and the corresponding and dramatic increase in Philadelphia gun violence. The Center for Gun Violence Reporting was created to explore the possibility that changing the way this issue is covered in the news might actually prevent shootings and save lives.

We want to raise voices from the community and create trusting collaborative relationships where everyone learns from each other.

We hope to see these teams produce content leveraging the combined authority of Credible Messengers and professional journalists to discover and advance solutions to the crisis of gun violence.

What kind of stories are you looking for?

We simply expect our teams to seek, verify and report the truth but we also suggest considering this best practices guide: Reporting on Community Gun Violence? Here’s what to do

Reporting should focus primarily on issues rather than responding to individual incidents. We are especially interested:

• gun violence prevention efforts and outcomes
• stories framed in the history of structural violence and systemic racism.
• elevating public health over law enforcement narratives
• identifying new experts and unexpected sources
• shining a light on survivors, activists, organizers and their efforts to make neighborhoods safer.

Credible Messenger Journalists are not being invited to express their own opinions but rather to bring their perspectives to objective reporting on others in their community.

Are community applications confidential?

Not exactly. The Center will not openly publish applications to participate in the Credible Messenger Reporting Program but they will be made available for review by approved partnering journalists.

Do partnering journalists need approval from them employers?

We would love to have journalists incorporate this project into their staff jobs with the approval of their employers but they are also invited to participate in this program individually, like an after-hours freelance assignment.

How will funds be administered?

Payments will be made at the completion of projects. Budgeted expenses may be made available in advance, upon request. All participants must complete and deliver an IRS W-9 form to receive payment. Checks will be mailed to the address on the W-9. Allow three weeks.

Who owns the reporting produced? Who has the right to publish, air or distribute the content?

The Credible Messenger Journalists owns the work produced. However, the owner agrees to license all work produced with support from this project to the Center for Gun Violence Reporting and all other parties under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International.

Can I apply more than once?

You may apply to participate again after a project is completed but new applicants will be granted preference in the selection process.

Who is behind this project?

The Center for Gun Violence Reporting resides within the Institute for Community Engagement and Civic Leadership at Community College of Philadelphia, with support from the Philadelphia COVID-19 Community Information Fund. The Credible Messenger Project has been made possible with support from the Independence Public Media Foundation. The center and project are being directed by Jim MacMillan of The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting.

This is a pilot project and we want your feedback: Please contact us with any questions, concerns or recommendations.