2. Remember who and what is important

Put community narratives first. Center stories around victims — and humanize them.

Don’t default to information provided by police officials or anyone else, especially those who wield power or hold a vested self-interest in portraying a particular narrative. Remember that official information isn’t always accurate.

Explore a full spectrum of experts who can shed light on the issue of gun violence, from public health and epidemiology to criminology, communications, and more. Some experts may not have an official title, such as block captains, activists, longtime community members, and impacted families.

Don’t focus on criminal records without a good reason, and don’t judge victims. When victims are young, include the voices and perspectives of young people.

Begin by taking a look in the mirror. Recognize who you are, own your biases, and do the work to unlearn them.

In advance of the Summit, we invited 15 Philadelphia-based journalists to spend a day with 30 residents from the core communities impacted by gun violence in the city. A focus group research team interviewed participants and Prof. Jennifer Midberry presented preliminary findings at the Summit: Communities Affected by Gun Violence: What They Want Journalists to Understand. (Listen.)

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 second post in a series introducing our seven-step guide, based on what we learned during our inaugural Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit.

Previously in this series: 1. Earn your place in the community

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: A group of journalism students from Philadelphia’s George Washington Carver High School attended the Summit.