Source:975Patricia Carbajales, Mark Follman, Emily Bell, Trymaine Lee
Affiliation:Stanford University, Mother Jones, Tow Center at Columbia Journalism School, MSNBC
From Aurora to Sandy Hook to Fort Hood (again), a spate of mass shootings has gripped our attention and fueled a fierce national debate about guns. But there's been a critical problem: Good data on these types of events—and on gun violence more broadly—has been hard to come by, in part due to the suppression of federal research. In the last two years, journalists have worked to fill this void, scouring news reports and combing through limited federal, state, and local government records on guns and gun violence. Several news organizations have built their own data projects documenting mass shootings and gun deaths, and produced quality narrative reporting using them. Yet without an agreed-upon methodology for compiling and analyzing such complex, incomplete data sets, the findings of these investigations have varied. This panel will bring together journalists behind these investigations, and others who have reported on gun violence in notable ways, for a conversation about how to cover this crucial subject matter. Can a set of best practices be determined for gathering gun data, or is there value in having disparate approaches? What data is most important to include? Why has it been so hard to access such information in the past, and what key research has yet to be done? All of this and more will be on the table.