Gun Violence and Public Health

gun violence

Photo by Tony Webster via Flickr

Reporting the Nation’s Other Health Crisis

A two-part webinar series for reporters and editors

Americans are emerging from the pandemic to scare headlines about a surge in violent crime this summer. But are the headlines telling the real story? How should journalists separate fact from fearmongering?

The Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College (CMCJ) is organizing a special webinar series on August 18 and Aug 19 to help journalists report in greater depth and understanding on efforts to address the rising levels of gun violence in at-risk communities in the Midwest and elsewhere in the country.  We’ll focus on prevention and intervention strategies that have been used, with varying effect, before and during the coronavirus outbreak―many of them piloted by community groups themselves―in an effort to give journalists a deeper background for coverage, and angles for new stories.

The project will comprise two webinars on the afternoons of August 18 and 19 with panels exploring three basic areas:

    • community intervention programs;
    • law enforcement approaches; and
    • public health-oriented approaches.

Although many of these programs have separately received coverage, bringing them together under one analytical rubric will assist journalists in finding ways to evaluate their effectiveness, and motivate them to search for similar programs to spotlight.

Speakers will include academics, health and violence workers, law enforcement managers, and relevant policymakers.

Among the questions to address: Are there metrics that journalists and other analysts can use to measure effectiveness of anti-gun violence programs beyond the obvious (changes in the level of violence)? How can the media best portray the specifics of today’s gun violence increase, without resorting to a daily “combat toll”?

The project is underwritten by the Joyce Foundation and the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation.

Journalists invited to apply for the program who attend all the sessions will receive a $250 stipend.

Each webinar will be on the record. Members of the public are welcome as observers, Recordings of the sessions will be available to journalist-fellows at a later date.



Journalists wishing to apply, or who would like further information, are invited to write CMCJ journalism coordinator Maurice Possley, at, with a bio and a brief note explaining how the program will benefit their reporting.    Maurice is also reachable at 312-208-0357. (He’s on Pacific Time.)

Members of the public who wish to attend are invited to contact Stephen Handelman, editor of The Crime Report, and director of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice, at

Please watch this space for further details, including information about agenda and speakers.