Responsible Reporting of Gun Violence: Protecting Communities and the First Amendment, Preventing Copycat Violence

February 9, 2018
Coffee @ 8:30 am, program 9:00 am – 4:00 pm 
Barco Law Building - First Floor
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; however, registration is required to ensure adequate space and refreshments. Continuing medical, law enforcement, and legal education credit will be available. Inquiries about fees for CME and CLE credits may be directed to Beth Ann Pischke.




Participation by all individuals is encouraged. Advance notification of any special needs will help us provide better service. Please notify us of your needs at least two weeks in advance of the program by contacting Beth Ann Pischke or calling the Center for Bioethics & Health Law at 412-648-7007.

All individuals in a position to control the content of this education activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services, used on, or consumed by, patients.

The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution.