Explain your goals, process and integrity when covering mass shootings

The news is tragic, and it’s unfolding in an all-too-familiar way. Innocent people have died. Society tries to make sense of the shooter’s motivation and mindset. People and organizations express outrage and sympathy. Paths forward are offered as if they’re simple solutions. Actual change and progress feel incremental or nonexistent.

And journalists try to document and make sense of it all on behalf of their communities — all while trying to leave room to process it as human beings.

Our focus at Trusting News is on supporting journalists as they work to explain their coverage to their audiences. How can they make their mission clear? How can they acknowledge the failings of the media in general while defending their own work? What do they wish their community knew about their integrity?

Remember, every decision you make or ethical framework you rely on is invisible to your audience unless you draw their attention to it.

Here are some resources from our team that might be useful as you cover mass shootings.

If you put these ideas into action, please let us know, by email at info@TrustingNews.org or at @TrustingNews on Twitter. Every example we can collect makes it easier for other newsrooms to follow your lead.

And here are a few other resources:

What would you add? And what else could you use help with? Let us know, by email at info@TrustingNews.org or at @TrustingNews on Twitter.

At Trusting News, we learn how people decide what news to trust and turn that knowledge into actionable strategies for journalists. We train and empower journalists to take responsibility for demonstrating credibility and actively earning trust through transparency and engagement. Subscribe to our Trust Tips newsletter. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Read more about our work at TrustingNews.org.

joy@trustingnews.org | Website | + posts

Director Joy Mayer (she/her) founded Trusting News in 2016 after a 20-year career in newsrooms and teaching. She spent 12 years at the Missouri School of Journalism, where she created an audience engagement curriculum and a community outreach team in the newsroom of the Columbia Missourian and also taught web design and print design. She lives in Sarasota, Florida, and can be reached at joy@TrustingNews.org or on Twitter @mayerjoy.

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