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 independent news reports, with support provided by the Center. Maxayn Gooden is our Credible Messenger Community Manager. This page highlights community reporting project activities which took place between July 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023.
In case you missed it:
Credible Messenger community journalists P.O.C. and Kim Kamara picked up the plaque when our Center was recognized as “Nontraditional News Provider of the Year” in the 2023 Philly News Awards from the Pen and Pencil Club, Philadelphia’s press club. We accepted this honor on behalf of the dozens of gun violence survivors, co-victims and others who have participated in our Credible Messenger Reporting Project, which produces the only original news reporting from our organization.
Credible Messenger Projects
Trailer: The Second Trauma
The Second Trauma is a collaboration between the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting and the Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting at Temple University and will premiere in January, 2024. Director and producer: Prof. Yvonne Latty of the Logan Center. Producer and host: Oronde McClain of PCGVR. Credible Messengers: Armond James and Angela Wade.
Guest commentaries on gun violence prevention
Gun violence survivor and prevention advocate LuQman Abdullah wrote a series of guest commentaries for The Philadelphia Citizen. Jessica Blatt Press, Director of Special Projects at the Citizen was the professional partner on this project.
Ikey Raw interviews Tiffaney Flynn, whose daughter’s murder remains unsolved. Photo by Yvonne Latty/Logan Center
Ikey Raw has dedicated his life to amplifying the stories of families grappling with the unsolved murders of their loved ones. In this podcast Raw talks to Tiffaney Flynn whose daughter Ojanae Thompson was murdered two years ago in a busy shopping center parking lot. The murder remains unsolved. The professional reporting partner on this project was Yvonne Latty, the director of Temple University’s Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting. Listen:
From Credible Messenger Mazzie Casher and Professional Reporting Partner Chelsea Scruggs. Editing: Nathan Unuigbe. Director of Photography/Camera operator: Eric Quay.
We are telling the story of PHILLY TRUCE, a nonprofit working to save young men of color from lives of crime. Based on the premise that Philadelphia has averaged 350 homicides per year for the past 50 years, with at least 85% of all perpetrators and victims being men of color. The story of PHILLY TRUCE is told in the context of historic movements in the black communities of Philadelphia specifically, House of Umoja and the Black Mafia; and how those movements played into the cycles of violence in their heydays.
Sitting On the Steps
Credible Messenger: Aja King
Professional Reporting Partner: Amanda DeJesus
Video Producer: Milan Peele
From Aja King: The untold stories of how the loss of a sibling affects the surviving siblings. My only brother Emir Greene was murdered in 1997 my senior year of high school. My heart was broken and my life was turned upside down. I want to tell the story of how siblings feel over looked as co-victims/survivors. I would like to share my experience of love, loss and legacy of losing my only brother to gun violence in the city of Philadelphia. It will bring forth the stories of surviving siblings, help others to understand they’re not selfish and that their feelings are important too. It may help them and the entire family seek grief therapy so they can heal.
Dramatic readings from: “Like I’m a nobody”
This presentation was produced by Philadelphia filmmaker Shameka Sawyer and her 5 Shorts Project in collaboration with, and with support from the Credible Messenger Reporting Project at the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting.
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.
This video was produced by young people who have also been personally impacted by gun violence, working for the Bout Mine I Matter program at the 5 Shorts Project.
Credible messenger Events
Second Annual Credible Messenger Film Festival
We gathered at Temple University on July 29 for our Second Annual Credible Messenger Film Festival, this time screening several short documentaries from some of our favorite partnering organizations, each followed by panel discussions including some of the producers, participants and other media experts. More info and slideshow:
Credible Messenger Link-Up and Info Session
More than 40 people attended our first Credible Messenger Link-Up and Info Session on May 6 at Temple University, including some of the city’s most prominent journalists and gun violence prevention community leaders. Presenters included Maxayn Gooden, Jim MacMillan and Oronde McClain from our Center plus Philadelphia Inquirer breaking news reporter Beatrice Forman and Temple journalism professor Yvonne Latty.. MORE PHOTOS AND INFO
Inaugural Credible Messenger Film Festival
Our first-ever Credible Messenger Film Festival took place at the Cope House at Awbury Arboretum in the Germantown section Philadelphia in late August, 2022. We screened every short documentary we had supported to date, each followed by a panel discussion including some of the community journalists, producers and professional partners behind each production as well as some of the people who appeared. The events were both produced hosted by our Credible Messenger Newsroom Liaison Oronde McClain and Community Engagement Manager Maxayn Gooden. More info and slide show:
Inside the 2022 Credible Messenger Film Festival
Our first-ever Credible Messenger Film Festival took place at the Cope House at Awbury Arboretum in the Germantown section Philadelphia in late August, 2022. We screened every short documentary we have supported to date, each followed by a panel discussion including some of the community journalists, producers and professional partners behind each production as well as some of the people who appeared. The events were both produced hosted by our Credible Messenger Newsroom Liaison Oronde McClain and Community Engagement Manager Maxayn Gooden. Photographs by Kriston Jae Bethel and Allie Ippolito. About the Credible Messenger Reporting Project This film was produced by Kenneth Wooten of STBY Studio while participating in the The Credible Messenger Reporting Project. The Credible Messenger Reporting Project trains, compensates and empowers people impacted by gun violence in Philadelphia to produce and distribute news reports on its root causes, their lived experience and possible solutions from the community perspective, with guidance from professional journalists.
Coming soon: Life Without Her
This documentary is complete and will premiere in December, 2023. Credible Messenger: Zarinah Lomax. Professional Reporting Partner: Rhonda Heckstall.
We will sharing the stories of 5 women who lost their lives to gun violence in Philadelphia. It is important to show the uprising of murders in Philadelphia and how it has increased with women as well. It addresses the increase of violence where women and children have lost their lives at a higher rate. Through sharing the pain of the families we hope to bring change and awareness to the families and possible future perpetrators who will remember the pain of the families from their loss. Each story that will be shared are of 5 women who were randomly killed in Philadelphia. Some were athletes, musicians or just great young women who had their whole lives ahead of them but was snatched. All the women are under the age of 23 to focus the impact this has on youth.
Left in the Dark
Credible Messenger: Brett Williams. Professional Partner: Astrid Martinez. Producer: Jeffrey Chandler.
“Left in the Dark” ties in a side of justice that needs highlighting; the living survivors of homicide victims. Survivors of homicide victims, also called co-victims are family members, friends, and other loved ones of the victim. They feel the life-changing impact of the trauma, hardship, and loss that result from the crime. The violent, unexpected death of a family member, intimate partner, or close friend is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can face, and it prompts a wide range of emotional reactions. Co-victims also may find that the trauma or stigma of the crime complicates the “normal” grief of losing a loved one. Being left in the dark means being uninformed or unaware of something, often because of a lack of communication or information. It can refer to a situation in which someone is not being given the information or support they need to understand what is happening or to make decisions. For example, a co-victim of homicide might feel left in the dark if they are not being kept informed about the progress of the investigation or if they are not being given sufficient support to cope with their grief and loss. In this context, being left in the dark can cause feelings of uncertainty, frustration, and isolation.
The Life of Marcus Yates
Credible Messenger: Malcom Yates. Profesional Reporting Partner: Monique Curry-Mims,
A life that was cut short at the age of 5 due to an influx of drugs and guns in our community – issues that still exist in our communities 35 years later. Our story we highlight the missing part of most reporting which is the lives impacted by these issues and the solutions that have yet to be implemented.
Traditions in Peace
Credible Messenger: Benita Brown
Profesional Reporting Partner: Michael Greenidge
With our project, we plan to connect with families who have been directly affected by gun violence in Philadelphia. Through one-on-one interviews, the stories are first-hand accounts of losing a loved one in this very tragic way. Our goal is to provide an uplifting space where families can share fond memories through verbal and non-verbal communication —specifically, the spoken word, dance, and music.
Credible Messenger: Anthony Brown. Professional Partner: Maia Rosenfeld.
We plan to report a story following a variety of perspectives on gun violence in Southwest and West Philadelphia, including youth who have personally experienced gun violence, mothers who have lost a child to gun violence, elected officials, and both participants and influencers in the ABro Experience program. We will focus on the ABro Experience and the impact it is having on the communities of Southwest and West. This reporting is important because it will highlight the ABro Experience and the credible messengers in the project. It will give an all-around view of what’s happening in the community from all possible perspectives. It will have an impact for the individuals highlighted in the project, and it will give an introduction to how the arts can prevent violence and improve social emotional learning.
Strings of Deceit: A Man’s Tale of Betrayal, Bullets, and Broken Justice.
Credible Messenger: Gary Logan. Professional Reporting Partner: Denise Clay-Murray
This story is going to focus on the intersection of gun violence and domestic violence, but not in the way it’s usually talked about. We’re going to talk about domestic violence from the point of view of Black men and the part gun violence sometimes plays in it by speaking to Black men who have found themselves in this position and also by telling my own story of how it impacted my life.