Year in Review: PCGVR breaks out in 2023

January: New research, media coverage, outreach and more

Our interdisciplinary research collaborative met at Temple’s Katz School of Medicine. Photograph for PCGVR by Kriston Jae Bethel.

Our first study was published“Like I’m a nobody:” firearm-injured peoples’ perspectives on news media reporting about firearm violence was led by our director of research Dr. Jessica Beard, who discussed it with NPR’s Consider ThisBilly Penn and the Philadelphia Citizen. Arnold Ventures vice president for criminal justice Walter Katz introduced the study at the Crime Coverage Summit organized by the National Press Foundation and Radio Television Digital News Association. Dr. Beard and PCGVR director Jim MacMillan appeared on FOX 29’s Save Our Streets: A Year of Hope.

Staffers Oronde McClain and Maxayn Gooden took part in a session addressing harmful gun violence reporting at the Klein News Innovation Camp at Temple University, with our journalism education advisor Prof. Yvonne Latty. Oronde also attended a Hybrid Gun Violence Conference in northwest Philadelphia. Maxayn Zoomed into a gun violence reporting class at Emerson College with Jim and our journalism research advisor Dr. Jennifer Midberry of Lehigh University.

Our partners at The Better Lab shared the human-centered design methods they used to develop and facilitate our Better Gun Violence Reporting Workshop a few months earlier.

February: Following up on our new research and more

Our Center was recognized as “Nontraditional News Provider of the Year” in the 2023 Philly News Awards. Credible Messenger community journalists P.O.C. and Kim Kamara picked up the plaque.

Our director of research Dr. Jessica Beard discussed our new study on a panel with the staff of The Trace during a conference organized by The New York Amsterdam News. We posted a series of quotes from our research in which gun violence survivors described harmful effects of news media. To bring their words to life while protecting their anonymity, we also created a video with dramatic readings by other Philadelphians who have been personally impacted by gun violence.

The Trace announced their new Local Reporting Initiative, including a dedicated home for coverage from Chicago and Philadelphia and a new newsletter covering just Philadelphia. The Trace also reported on our research and the Nieman Lab noted us in their look at The Trace. 

Penn Nursing professor Dr. Sara Jacoby, one of the authors on our recent study, spoke on “Structural determinants of (unequal) exposure to injury and violence,” at the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at Penn.

We were excited to share the first piece from 2023’s cohort in our Credible Messenger Reporting Project, by LuQman Abdullah for The Philadelphia Citizen: How to end our culture of gun violence.

March: More panels, webinars and media coverage

Above: Several of our staffers and one of our key partners took part in a webinar hosted by the Full Frame Initiative. Clockwise from top left, PCGVR newsroom liaison Oronde McClain, PCGVR director Jim MacMillan, Tanya Tucker of Full Frame, an ASL interpreter, PCGVR community manager Maxayn Gooden and Cheryl Thompson-Morton of the Newmark Journalism School at CUNY and the Poynter Institute.

Our director of research Dr. Jessica Beard was recognized by Philadelphia Magazine among 6 Philadelphians With Promising Approaches to Gun Violence Prevention. Dr. Beard also presented during a Stoneleigh Foundation convening on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Philadelphia’s Gun Violence Epidemic. And Temple News opinion editor Sarah Frasca interviewed Dr. Beard for a commentary on crime reporting.

Our community manager Maxayn Gooden was featured in a report from WHYY Gun Violence Prevention Reporter Sam Searles. Our newsroom liaison Oronde McClain shared his experience as a gun violence survivor in an article published in Le Temps, the Swiss French-language newspaper in Geneva.

Several of us were also invited to participate in a webinar with University of Colorado Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative. Our team also joined a special edition of Street Talk with Loraine Ballard Morrill on Power 99 and WDAS FM to discuss the impact of media coverage of violence.

PCGVR director Jim MacMillan joined Cherri Gregg of WHYY and Mensah Dean from The Trace at American University in Washington for a panel at the first convening of the new Law & Justice Journalism Project. We hosted our first off-the-record networking session for journalists reporting on gun violence in Philadelphia. And The Philadelphia Citizen published the second commentary in a series by PCGVR Credible Messenger Reporting Project community journalist LuQman Abdullah.

April: Reporting on our research and growing our team

Above: Our journalism research advisor Prof. Jennifer Midberry of Lehigh University discussed research projects affiliated with our Center during at lecture at Temple University’s Klein College. By then we had eight studies published or in progress, involving 14 authors and 12 paid research assistants at seven universities.

We were delighted to report that the Stoneleigh Foundation would be providing additional support to keep our Credible Messenger Newsroom Liaison Oronde McClain on the job with us for at least another year. Oronde had been in contact with someone in every major Philadelphia newsroom during his first year.

Next, the Stoneleigh Foundation announced that four of their new Emerging Leader Fellowships would focus on Addressing Philadelphia’s Gun Violence Epidemic, including support for one fellow to lead our new project on Centering the Voices of Firearm Survivors in Media.

Our director of research Dr. Jessica Beard was invited back for her second visit with Nick Taliaferro and his Evening WURDs program on WURD Radio. (Segment begins at 27:45.)

We offered to pay for a team from every Philadelphia TV news organization to attend Transforming Crime Reporting Into Public Safety Journalism, a 24-week online seminar from the Poynter Institute that our team had attended the year before. A team from one station signed up and attended.

We shared the latest production from our Credible Messenger Reporting Project. Credible Messenger community journalist Ikey Raw and professional partner Yvonne Latty reported on the unsolved murder of Ojanae Thompson.

May: More events, media coverage and research updates

Above: More than 40 people attended our first Credible Messenger Link-Up and Info Session, hosted by PCGVR staffers Maxayn Gooden and Oronde McClain, both seen in the top photo. We gathered at the new space provided by IDEAL: Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership at Temple University. Photographs for PCGVR by Kriston Jae Bethel.

PBS Vitals produced a brilliant explainer on how to address gun violence as a public health issue, featuring our Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard, our research partner Dr. Sara Jacoby and Philadelphia gun violence prevention community superhero Zarinah Lomax. Dr. Beard was also interviewed by Undark Magazine on “Why Some Mass Shootings — And Their Victims — Go Uncounted.”

Our Credible Messenger Newsroom Liaison and gun violence survivor Oronde McClain took part in a panel at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in San Francisco, titled: “The Intersection of Gun Violence, Race, and Mental Health in the US: An Overview of the Problem and Strategies for Harm Reduction for Psychiatrists.”

Prof. Jennifer Midberry of Lehigh University, who leads journalism research in our collaborative, presented our latest study in Toronto at the International Communications Association Conference, where 2,000 scholars gathered to keep up on the latest advances in their field. Last year, Jennifer presented our first study at the ICA conference in Paris.

Another study from our research collaborative was awarded first place in the Broadcast and Mobile Journalism Division’s Faculty Paper Competition and accepted for presentation at the conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication: “Broadcasting solutions: A textual analysis of Philadelphia local television news coverage of remedies for gun violence” looks into extensive data gathered by our Center. Authors Jennifer Midberry and Patrick Walters are both former Philadelphia journalists who earned their PhDs at Temple’s Klein College in recent years.

Our team took part in the second cohort of “Transforming Crime Reporting Into Public Safety Journalism” with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Gun violence survivor and anti-violence advocate LuQman Abdullah and Philadelphia Citizen special projects director Jessica Blatt Press published the third and final commentary from their collaboration supported by our Credible Messenger Reporting Project.

After launching at the height of the pandemic and working virtually at first, our core staff stood together in person for just the second time when we attended at the Mothers in Charge 20th Anniversary Gala.

June: More presentations, conferences and a memorial

Above: Several of us took part in a webinar with the Law and Justice Journalism Project. Clockwise from top left: PCGVR community manager Maxayn Gooden, research director Dr. Jessica Beard, LJJP founder Jessica Brand and PCGVR director Jim MacMillan.

Our Credible Messenger Community Manager Maxayn Gooden visited the new House of the Living memorial in Elkins Park honoring victims of gun violence and developed by Swarthmore College students and faculty members. Her son Jahsun is remembered among the etched glass images of those lost.

Maxayn also participated in a symposium titled “Gun Violence: Impacts and Solutions from a Maternal and Child Health Perspective” organized by the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University.

We felt honored to find our Center at the top of a list of resources for journalists in a new article from the Association of Health Care Journalists, titled.

PCGVR director Jim MacMillan attended the first in-person convening of the Crime Trends Working Group organized by the Council on Criminal Justice in Washington.

Our Credible Messenger Newsroom Liaison Oronde McClain was invited join a panel called “Covering Gun Violence Ethically, Legally, and Professionally,” along with our partner Prof. Yvonne Latty from Temple’s Logan Center, who was named this year’s recipient of AEJMC’s Gene Burd Award for Excellence in Urban Journalism.

July: Our second film festival and new social media channels

Above: We gathered at Temple University for our Second Annual Credible Messenger Film Festival. Photographs for PCGVR by Kriston Jae Bethel.

Once again, our free Credible Messenger Film Festival was hosted by our community engagement manager Maxayn Gooden and newsroom liaison Oronde McClain. This time we screened 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. We are grateful to the Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting and Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University for hosting this event.

We added LinkedIn, Threads and Mastodon to our social media menu as activity on Twitter declined.

August: The national conference and more

We had an incredible August at PCGVR, making the case for better gun violence reporting on panels at three national conference, culminating with our panel during the Online News Association (ONA) Conference convened here in Philadelphia, seen above. Photographs for PCGVR by Kriston Jae Bethel.

PCGVR director of research Dr. Jessica Beard and took part in the panel we collaborated to produce for the Online News Association Conference. On the evening before, nearly 100 ONA attendees, local journalists, community leaders, researchers and supporters checked in for our Better Gun Violence Reporting Reception at the Pen and Pencil Club, our city’s historic press club.

Our month started with PCGVR director Jim MacMillan invited to join a panel with the Law and Justice Journalism Project at the National Association of Black Journalists’ conference in Birmingham, Alabama. WHYY’s Cherri Gregg moderated.

Next, our team was represented on two panels at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference in Washington. Our Credible Messenger Newsroom Liaison Oronde McClain took part in one session and two of our key research partners took part in another.

Finally, the It’s All Journalism podcast, interviewed Dr. Jessica Beard on: How media reporting on firearm violence does more harm than good.


Above: Staffers from the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting were invited to discuss Reporting Gun Violence: Media, Ethics and Community Intervention at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, thanks to an invitation from the Center for Media at Risk and the SAFELab at the Annenberg School for Communication. Photographs by Kyle Cassidy: Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

We Zoomed into 27 US newsrooms across the US to share our work, thanks to the Poynter Institute. Our frontline staffers visited local newsrooms and were featured in special reports on FOX29 and NBC10 TV in Philadelphia.

PCGVR intern Dashawn Walker and staffers Maxayn Gooden and Oronde McClain were each recognized with Next Generation Awards from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

PCGVR director or research Dr. Jessica Beard was quoted from one of our webinars for a new Billy Penn report on the perception of crime in Philadelphia.

PCGVR founder and director Jim MacMillan was invited to the University of Scranton to discuss “Gun violence, prevention and the role of the media” during a World Affairs Luncheon organized by The Schemel Forum for Cultural Enrichment and Education in the Community.

Jim also joined the Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting at Temple University as assistant director, accelerating an already powerful partnership between the two Centers.


Above: PCGVR Credible Messenger Community Manager Maxayn Gooden, at right, speaks with Clementina Chery of Boston’s Louis D. Brown Peace Institute at Harvard University

We presented our work in person at the The Harvard Radcliffe Institute, at the new Institute for Storycraft and Information Gathering at Tufts University and to students at Washington and Lee University.

Our director of research Dr. Jessica Beard was recognized with the Pina Templeton Injury Prevention Award by the American Trauma Society and the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation for her presentation on our work, and both Jessica and PCGVR founder Jim MacMillan were named among Philadelphia Magazine’s 150 Most Influential Philadelphians.

PCGVR journalism research advisor Dr. Jennifer Midberry of Lehigh University discussed research conducted by partners in our multidisciplinary collaborative on a panel at the Guggenheim Symposium on Crime In America hosted by the Center for Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

PCGVR newsroom Liaison Oronde McClain was awarded an Emerging Leader Fellowship with the Stoneleigh Foundation and our center was awarded our first grant from the William Penn Foundation.

PCGVR community manager Maxayn Gooden and director Jim MacMillan attended the opening of the House of the Living memorial to those lost to gun violence.


Above: PCGVR Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard, top right, speaks with Penn Nursing Prof. Sara Jacoby during a meeting of our interdisciplinary research collaborative last year at Temple University’s Katz School of Medicine. PCGVR Journalism Research Advisor Prof. Jennifer Midberry of Lehigh University is at top, left. Photograph for PCGVR by Kriston Jae Bethel.

PCGVR Director of Research Dr. Jessica Beard was awarded a two-year, $450,000 grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to lead more advanced research “Examining Racial and Spatial Disparities in Harmful News Media Reporting on Community Firearm Violence” in her role at Temple’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

We convened our first Gun Violence Prevention Reporter Certification Workshop at the Cope House at the Awbury Arboretum in the East Germantown section of Philadelphia. Twenty-five journalists and 15 community-based gun violence prevention experts participated, including journalists from four other cities and two national news organizations.

We posted several new projects produced with support from our Credible Messenger Reporting Project: Philly Truce, Sitting on the Steps, and The Life of Marcus Yates.


Above: Our team took part in a media panel at the National Gun Violence Prevention Summit at the Center for American Progress in Washington. From left are: moderator Jennifer Mascia of The Trace, Ben Conarck of The Baltimore Banner, PCGVR newsroom liaison and Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader fellow Oronde McClain and PCGVR founder and director Jim MacMillan.

Our research director Dr. Jessica Beard was interviewed by WHYY about her new NIH grant. Dr. Beard was also recognized among top leaders and programs “Expanding Your Possibilities” at Temple Health for her research conducted in collaboration with PCGVR, visited the Love & Life program on WURD Radio and was invited to participate in a new webinar.

Our team was invited to screen The Second Trauma, our new documentary produced in collaboration with the Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting at Temple University, and convene a companion panel at 2024 Crime Coverage Summit organized by RTDNA, NPF and Arnold Ventures.