Responsible Reporting of Gun Violence:
Protecting Communities and the First Amendment, Preventing Copycat Violence
February 9, 2018 | 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Center for Bioethics & Health Law
University of Pittsburgh
Barco Law Building, 3900 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
This symposium will bring together experts in mental health, violence prevention and public health, law and law enforcement, and media studies to examine ways to report gun violence to the public responsibly.
Considered a public health problem, gun violence is a threat to every dimension of health: it undermines physical, mental, and social well-being. Concern for the health and well-being of individuals and communities demands drawing attention to the causes and magnitude of this health risk. Yet media attention frequently exacerbates some risks to physical and mental health. While homicide in many communities is a relatively neglected sociocultural phenomenon and health risk, mass shooting events capture public attention through 24-hour news cycles and social media platforms. Coverage of these events often leads to an implication that there can be only two explanations: extremism or illness. Media coverage frequently fuels the stigma of mental illness and false perceptions that people with mental illness are dangerous. Coverage also leads to copycat violence, clustering of violent events, and tactical mimicry by people considering such attacks. Through a series of presentations and panel discussions assembled experts will explore best practices for media coverage of gun violence.
The public, students, and faculty are welcome. Journalists, writers, and professionals in mental health, public health, law, and law enforcement are especially encouraged to participate.
Registration is free, but required. Visit
for additional information and registration.