During this campaign, we’ve profiled a gun violence survivor, a researcher, and a mother who lost her son. But, to improve media coverage of gun violence, we need members of the media at the table as well.
Most of us don’t know what it’s like to be a reporter covering gun violence. You get an assignment from an editor. You go out to a location. You try to talk to people. You talk to the police. You produce something. It goes out into the world.
This all usually happens within a workday.
According to Yvonne Latty, journalist and director of The Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting at Temple, this leads to a fraught relationship between reporters and the communities they cover. Sometimes, Latty explains, it can feel to some that reporters don’t see them as people, just stories.
“The community actually has a lot of power,” Latty says, “but they sometimes don’t trust the media, so they won’t talk to you.” When that happens, news stories become police briefs, which contributes to that lack of trust. “It becomes a cycle.”
That’s why Latty is so impressed by, and excited about, the work happening at the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting. “Gun violence reporting has to be a partnership with public safety as the goal,” Latty states simply. Unfortunately, many young reporters never have the opportunity to sit with those most impacted by gun violence outside moments of trauma.
That’s why The Center’s work convening stakeholders is so promising. “It feels purposeful,” Latty explains. The Center’s work, “is really something special. At workshops, they’re giving people who have experienced pain and loss an avenue to speak.” The events are so important, “because they allow for the creation of relationships. I can’t tell the story on my own.”
And, these relationships can contribute to more informed, nuanced, solutions-oriented journalism, like Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist, a podcast series Latty produced in partnership with Sammy Caoila of WHYY. In it, listeners hear from community members, politicians, police officers, and more, giving a comprehensive overview on the complexity of gun violence and prevention..
And that’s what we need, if we – all of us – are going to partner to create a safer community.
Between now and the end of 2022, The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting aims to raise $15,000 and enlist ten new monthly donors. This campaign – New. Needed. Now. – will profile those working with The Center to advance empathic, ethical, and impactful journalism through research, improved journalistic practices, credible messenger reporting, and solutions-oriented convenings about Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis . Please consider making a gift today.