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IBGVR monthly: Preliminary results from #BGVR2019 Outcomes and Impact Survey

Six months have now passed since we hosted the inaugural Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit in Philadelphia.

Checking in

We got high marks on the anonymous attendee survey we conducted shortly after our Summit last fall but we reached out again earlier this month to ask participants to tell us about any impact or outcomes they created or observed during the months that followed.

We got fewer responses this time, making us wonder if more people might be offline for reasons related to the pandemic and we hope everyone is OK. The feedback we did receive was sent primarily by those who presented during the event.

If you attended, you can still participate in the latest survey here:
(If you purchased tickets for others, please forward the link to them.)


Almost everyone reported doing a better job in their field as a result of attending the Summit, as well as developing a significantly deeper understanding of gun violence and prevention.

A majority of respondents said they developed new relationships, took some kind of action and witnessed instances of better gun violence reporting as a result of the Summit.
"There has certainly been some great reporting over the past six months."

- Daniel Webster, director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins
Only half of the responding journalists said they produced better gun violence reporting as a result of attending but that group was an even smaller sample. We also received some exciting individual responses:

Impact on patient care

Emergency physician Megan Healy told us about plans for a training session to improve communications between mothers of gun violence victims and the medical residents who most often find themselves speaking to patients in the trauma bay at Temple Hospital. And more:
"The summit inspired me to create an entire social determinants of health curriculum for our incoming emergency medicine interns... The thoughtfulness you gave to centering Black voices was really valuable and educational for me."

- Dr. Megan Healy
The staff also held a departmental holiday gathering for bereaved mothers and redoubled efforts around providing services, such as providing gun locks, for the victims of gun violence who are cared for in their emergency department.

Impact in the community

"I am more intentional about what I want the outcome to be with any interactions with a victim or community affected by gun violence."

- Michelle Kerr-Spry

"I continue to encourage people to understand the 2nd amendment and to know the law of their state. I encourage and distribute gun locks. I attend seminars to learn what I can."

- Renee McDonald
Both women are members of Mothers in Charge and were panelists on a Summit session. You can listen online now:
This session also led to a new collaboration among Philadelphia newsrooms providing links to resources for families affected by gun violence:

Impact on research and collaboration

A criminal justice researcher at Temple University shared plans to produce graphics from open data shared at the Summit and to expand her network:
"Decided I needed to join a collaborative (CODE Red PA) to work more with health professionals and others on advocacy issues and research."

- Prof. Caterina Roman, Temple University

Impact on the arts

Responding to survey question about action taken as a result of the Summit:
"I use my art to make a difference."

- Playwright and Summit attendee Karen Smith 

Impact on journalism education

"I've incorporated some of what I've learned into the way I teach reporting and trauma journalism and plan to continue my new approach."

- Prof. Katherine Reed, University of Missouri School of Journalism
ICYMI, Prof. Reed also wrote about the Summit for Nieman Reports:

What's next?

Several respondents suggested staging similar summits in other cities distressed by gun violence and we had already been making plans for one but funding has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 crisis.

For now, we are watching how other journalism organizations have been adapting to host their educational programming online and seeking support to do the same.

Thanks again to attendees and survey respondents. We want to optimize our programming to make the greatest possible impact and your contributions have been priceless.

Here's what you can do

The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting has been created to inform a new set of best practices for journalists reporting on gun violence and to explore the hypothesis that changing the way this issue is covered could prevent shooting incidents and save lives.

You can still revisit the Summit online, view the agenda, listen to the sessions, learn about the presenters, check the hashtag, reporting notes, photos or media coverage. We also have a succinct recap deck and an extensive report to funders that notes some of the outcomes we had already witnessed.

We have good reason to believe this work will make a difference. Your contributions will help make future programming and research possible.

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