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Changing the Narrative About Gun Violence in California

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The discourse about gun violence is often dominated by horrific stories about mass shootings, but PHI’s Berkeley Media Studies Group wanted to know how more common types of violence that happen every day appear and how community-level prevention and intervention strategies are portrayed. In 2018, BMSG analyzed how three common types of gun violence (domestic violence, suicide, and community violence) are framed in California news, which provided a window into the public discourse. Through their analysis, they discovered that:

  • There are gaps in the narrative about gun violence, particularly around suicide, domestic violence, and how they connect with gun violence. With very few articles about suicide and domestic violence and guns, it may be difficult for audiences to understand how common these types of gun violence are and why preventing them is so important.
  • Specific incidents and individualized framing dominate the news coverage about gun violence in California – which could limit discussion of solutions.
  • Most articles frame gun violence through a criminal justice lens that obscures context, consequences, and communities.
  • The pictures accompanying stories about community and domestic gun violence could reinforce stereotypes about young men of color.

 

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