Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJJoseph Sakran
As journalists, we focus on the increasingly common phenomenon of mass shootings. They are appalling, they are terrifying and we don’t fully understand them.
But gun violence is far more common, far more widespread, and far more insidious than those high-profile events – both murder and suicide. And we aren’t doing enough to think about and address firearms deaths as a public health problem, rather than a law enforcement problem, panelists told a Health Journalism 2019 panel in Baltimore on Friday. Continue reading
As I write this post, I can’t even recall what the most recent mass shooting was. I know it wasn’t the Pittsburgh synagogue because that’s been a few weeks, and then there was the one at a country music club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., that came after that not long after. (The later incident sticks out in my mind because one victim had earlier survived last year’s Las Vegas mass shooting, also during another country music concert.) Continue reading
If you’ve had trouble as a reporter getting access to major public health studies on gun violence, get ready to dive down a rabbit hole. The American Public Health Association just opened up to the public research related to firearms published in the American Journal of Public Health. Every article published in the journal about gun violence — studies, editorials, commentaries and essays — will soon be available. Continue reading
Recently I wrote about the need to check citations when covering a study that triggers mental alarm bells, such as a statistic that strains belief. That post focused on a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine that frequently had been cited as evidence that opioids aren’t very addictive.
A few weeks later, a similar issue undermined the credibility of dozens (or more) publications on a far more divisive topic — gun violence.
Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJU.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., spoke about gun violence as a public health issue at Health Journalism 2016. Click here to see his comments.
In light of the mass shooting in Orlando, many journalists covering the event will need access to statistics on firearms, legislation, past mass shootings and related information to add context to their posts. It’s often challenging to find this information, and all of the reported data has flaws in methodology or data collection.
Even though it can be tricky to find reliable stats related to firearms and firearm injuries and deaths, journalists can compile a pretty good big picture by visiting several sites and pooling their data. Here are some data resources compiled from AHCJ’s Medical Studies Core Topic. Continue reading