Reducing and Preventing Violence: Strengthening Reporting About What Works

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Media coverage of violence in American society is skewed too often towards the sensational “if it bleeds, it leads” approach. While conscientious journalists make an effort to cover the debilitating effects of violent crime—particularly in low-income and vulnerable communities—deadline and newsroom pressures still leave a critically important dimension of the story unreported: What can be done—and what is working—to reduce or prevent such violence?

This is a missed opportunity. Reporting that covers the solutions as well as the problems can be empowering. Instead of passively accepting the “reality” of violence in their communities and neighborhoods, people can see possibilities for change—and build upon them.

The Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College (CMCJ) selected 27 journalists as Reporting Fellows for a special year-long project (2015-2016) aimed at strengthening reporting on solutions to the problem of violence in America. The fellowship program, sponsored by the Solutions Journalism Network, launched September 21, 2015 with a two-day symposium at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, entitled Reducing and Preventing Violence: Strengthening Reporting About What Works.

Speakers at the workshop included: Jelani Cobb, Staff Writer at The New Yorker and Associate Professor of History and Director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut; Cathy Spatz Widom, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at John Jay; Arthur C. Evans, Jr., Commissioner of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability Services; Jack Glaser, Associate Dean, Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California, Berkeley; and Dean Esserman, Chief of Police in New Haven, CT.

For a full program agenda, please click HERE.

NOTE: Vincent Schiraldi, who was listed as a speaker in the program, was unable to make the workshop. He was replaced by Howard Pinderhughes.

The John Jay/Solutions Journalism Network Reporting Fellows will spend the fellowship year in their home newsrooms, with assistance from CMCJ and Solutions Journalism staff, working on special reporting projects using the skills and research tools learned during the workshop. Their efforts will be published in their own media outlets and cross-posted in The Crime Report.

Keynote address, delivered by Cathy Spatz Widom, Department of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice:

How Cities Can Promote Resilience: A Presentation by Arthur Evans, Jr. Commissioner, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services.

Closing keynote, delivered by Jelani Cobb, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut and Staff Writer at The New Yorker:

Please check in regularly for updates on this page!

We will also post handouts or research presented during the conference and after, as well as podcasts and videos from the proceedings as they become available.

The CMCJ thanks the Solutions Journalism Network and, through them, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, for supporting this important project.

For a full list of the Fellows, please click HERE.

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