1. Earn your place in the community

Nothing is more clear than the need and responsibility of journalists to do the hard work of earning trust in impacted communities.

Reporters should not simply parachute into neighborhoods with no preexisting relationships, take what is needed, and disappear with no plans to return. Be kind, gentle, and understanding; don’t just think about getting the story.

Get to know people away from community violence. Be present, even when not reporting. Return to the community regularly. Find and share the wonderful things taking place in a neighborhood, outside of the negative. Tell stories of resilience. Create hope.

Respect the community. Remember they don’t know you and they don’t owe the media anything.

The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting was created to inform a set of best practices specifically intended for journalists reporting on community gun violence. This is the first post in a series introducing our seven-step guide, based on what we learned during our inaugural Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit.

The guide will reside here when complete: Reporting on community gun violence? Here’s what to do

You can learn about the panelists and listen to every session online for free. Visit: The Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit

The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting was organized by Jim MacMillan is his role as a fellow with the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Above: The opening panel was titled “Covering Community Gun Violence: How We’re Trying to Do It Better.” We are grateful to the team at The Trace for coordinating this critical session with leading journalists covering gun violence across the nation. (Listen.)