Why a Temple Trauma Surgeon Is Pushing Journalists to Change How They Cover Gun Violence

By Ernest Owens, Philadelphia Magazine | March 11, 2023

Stoneleigh Fellow Jessica Beard was featured by Philadelphia Magazine for her research and work to improve how journalists cover gun violence.

At any given moment, Jessica Beard knows she could get “the call.”

As a trauma surgeon at Temple University Hospital — one of the busiest trauma centers for gunshot wounds in Pennsylvania — she cares daily for people injured by firearms. It was during these sadly routine interventions that she began to grasp how the media influences the way her patients — and the community — think and talk about gun violence.

“Because I witness the excruciating heartbreak of this epidemic on a daily basis, I am passionate about firearm-violence prevention,” Beard says. “I believe that if the news media helped the public to understand the root causes and solutions for firearm violence and emphasized the humanity of firearm-injured people and their loved ones, this could result in more support for effective solutions for firearm-violence prevention.”

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