Analyzing Gun Violence Narratives in California News

Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in California and across the country. And although newspapers cover gun violence extensively, a new report shows they rarely focus on root causes or possible solutions.

In its report “More Than Mass Shootings: Gun Violence Narratives in California News,” the Berkeley Media Studies Group explores coverage of the three most common types of gun violence—suicide, domestic violence, and violence in the community, such as homicides and mass shootings—in California newspapers from October 2016 to October 2017.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Newspapers rarely report on suicide or domestic violence involving guns, both of which are responsible for a significant number of deaths.
  • Most stories emphasize a person or incident, rather than illuminating root causes or proposed solutions.
  • Most articles frame gun violence through a criminal justice lens that obscures social context and long-term consequences for the community.
  • Pictures accompanying stories about community and domestic gun violence often reinforce harmful stereotypes.

You can view the full report here.

The report was produced with funding from the Hope and Heal Fund, a project housed under the New Venture Fund and supported by the Foundation’s Local and Emerging Opportunities program. The Hope and Heal Fund was established by philanthropic leaders to address the urgent issue of gun violence in California and to model community-based gun violence prevention solutions for the nation.

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