7 things journalists should know about guns

7 things journalists should know about guns

(media.defense.gov) This journalism tip sheet on covering guns in the U.S., originally published in October 2018, has been updated with new data and other information. Guns are one of the most divisive topics in the U.S., so it’s crucial for journalists to get the details right — down to the type and style of weapon discussed. Nationwide, 32% of U.S. adults say they own a gun and 44% live in a gun-owning household, according to a national Gallup survey conducted in October 2020. When reporters make mistakes, audiences might see their work as sloppy or, worse, perceive errors as an effort to mislead. Regardless, when the news media get facts wrong, audiences — especially gun owners — might not trust the information they provide. To warn reporters about pitfalls they can encounter in covering guns and brief them on some basic terminology, The Journalist’s Resource teamed up with two reporters with lots of experience writing about firearms. We thank Henry Pierson Curtis , who covered gun and drug trafficking and other crime at the Orlando Sentinel for 25 years before retiring in 2016, and Alex Yablon , who covered the business of guns and gun policy for about five years at The Trace , for helping us create this tip sheet. Here are seven things journalists should keep in mind when reporting on guns: People who die in mass shootings represent a small fraction of the number who die from gunshots in the United States. In 2019, 39,707 people […]

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