Changing the Narrative on Gun Violence Reporting in Philadelphia

The Challenge

Gun violence impacts the health of children and young adults, not only through direct personal injury, but also indirectly through the loss of a loved one or a child’s lost sense of safety. Now more than ever, gun violence is an urgent threat to the health and welfare of youth in Philadelphia. While the root causes of this epidemic are complex, research indicates that gun violence incidence is empirically tied to poverty and place-based historic and structural racism. However, these connections and root causes are not often discussed or contextualized in news reporting. Instead, media reports can sometimes bolster structural inequities by reinforcing existing biases and dehumanizing gun violence perpetrators and victims. While effective prevention and intervention programs do exist, many media reports refrain from discussing gun violence in the context of its solutions.

The Project

Through her Stoneleigh Fellowship, Dr. Jessica H. Beard is partnering with the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting and local news journalists to transform the way gun violence is reported in Philadelphia by deepening the media narrative and educating the public on its root causes and solutions. Jessica will leverage media to improve public knowledge, with the goal of increasing widespread support for policies and programs to curb the epidemic.

The Stoneleigh Fellowship will enable Jessica to:

  • Conduct an assessment of the current state of gun violence reporting in Philadelphia, including the barriers to reporting for journalists.
  • Develop best practice guidelines for reporting on gun violence, tailored specifically to local television news reports on gun violence in Philadelphia.
  • Lead an evaluation of the impact of the educational intervention on local television news reporting in Philadelphia.

Jessica H. Beard, MD, MPH

Stoneleigh Fellow

2021 – 2024

Director of Research

Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting


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