5. Don’t cover; engage!

Spend time going to events, visiting places of worship and attending support groups. Learn as much as possible about a neighborhood and the people who live there.

Familiar faces can be more comforting to families and communities in grief.

Give people time to grieve before approaching them following an incident of gun violence.

Reach out and encourage communities to participate in the reporting process. Convey how this will result in better reporting and bring more attention to the stories they want told.

When possible, involve the local community in the fact-checking process. Better stories happen when working together.

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

Previous posts in this series:

1. Earn your place in the community

2. Remember who and what is important

3. Recognize the complexity of the topic

4. Disrupt misconceptions

The complete guide will reside here: 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: Three prominent Philadelphia journalists addressed questions gathered from women who had lost loved ones to gun violence, in a conversation intended to bring the communities closer together and improve coverage of the issue. Listen to: Coming together: Local journalists and mothers of the fallen