The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting

What if changing the way journalists report on gun violence could prevent shootings and save lives?

The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting has been created to inform a set of best practices specifically intended for journalists reporting on gun violence and to explore the hypothesis that changing the way this issue is presented can actually reduce violence. Our network of collaborating experts has given us every reason to believe this work will make a difference.


To inform this process, we organized the inaugural the inaugural Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit at WHYY in Philadelphia in November, 2019. Nearly 250 people attended from across the nation. Resources:

Participating experts included journalists who cover gun violence locally and nationally, community representatives with deep firsthand experience, frontline clinicians and researchers from fields including communications, criminology, epidemiology and public health.

Presentations partnersSupporters
The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and ResearchThe Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri
The Coalition of Trauma Centers for Firearm Injury PreventionThe Lenfest Institute for Journalism
The Media School at Indiana UniversityWHYY
The TraceThe Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists
Guns and AmericaDart Center for Journalism and Trauma
WHYY NewsAction Tank US

Community Conversations

In preparation for the Summit, we invited 15 Philadelphia journalists who play some role covering gun violence to spend a day with 30 residents from deeply impacted communities. We partnered with nonprofits Mothers in Charge, the Coalition of Trauma Centers for Firearm Injury Prevention and Resolve Philadelphia. Support was provided by the City of Philadelphia Office of Violence Prevention.

Previous presentations
NORC / Arnold VenturesKlein News Innovation CampGermantown Info Hub
Projects in progress
Best practices guideResource info sharingPhiladelphia data dashboard
Emerging projects
Summit 2020Partnering on podcastNewsroom training


Following the release of our best practices guide, we will turn to implementation, assessment and refinement. At the same time, we are focused on development, branding and strategy to transform our Initiative into an enduring Center for Gun Violence Reporting. Ultimately, we intend to facilitate and support enhanced reporting on the story of gun violence in America and the path to prevention.


During our first year of operations, The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting modestly supported a diverse group of 82 conference presenters, event staffers and community members.

Combined, these groups comprised 76 percent people of color and 51 percent women. Diversity of age, education, income and identity were not measured at these events but were often stated by participants.

Summit participants included local and national journalists who report on gun violence; community representatives with prolonged lived experience and clinicians and researchers specializing in communications, criminology, epidemiology and public health.

Attendees included public officials and policymakers, activists and organizers, first responders, medical students, high school journalists and a former mayor of Philadelphia, as well as additional impacted residents from Philadelphia neighborhoods.

IBGVR also provided dozens of free conference tickets to organizations and individuals who indicated that cost would be an impediment to attending.


Founder and director Jim MacMillan is a fellow with the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, a journalism educator and a Pulitzer Prize-winning former photojournalist. This project is co-managed with fiscal sponsorship by CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia and is a member of CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia.

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The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting