Gun violence survivors identify harmful media coverage: New study

Above: Our research collaborative met at Temple University last year.

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.

That’s according to a new study from a collaborative of Philadelphia researchers coordinated by our Director of Research, Dr. Jessica Beard.

“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.

“These interviews reveal the need for journalists to stop episodic snapshot reporting of individual incidents of interpersonal firearm violence and concentrate on producing more in-depth reporting that presents root causes and solutions, and gives voice to those who are directly impacted,” said Dr. Beard. “It’s time for reporting on firearm violence to be part of the solution,” she added.

Twenty-six gunshot patients participated in this study. Of these, half were aware of TV, newspaper or social media coverage of their shooting though none had been interviewed by a journalist.

The harmful reporting illuminated by this study demonstrates the need for ethical guidelines and recommendations for best practices specific to covering gun violence.

Press release and contact info: Temple-led study examines the perspectives of recently firearm-injured people on news media reports of firearm violence