Media Coverage of Gun Violence in the United States

Abstract: Gun violence in the United States has reached epidemic proportions, where guns have been implicated as the cause of more than 30,000 fatalities and 80,000 injuries annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Public Health Association. The dozens of Mass shooting incidents over the past several years have provoked a national conversation about gun violence, regulation, public policy, and mental health with particular attention to how the media covers and frames gun violence incidents. Despite this attention, our empirical understanding of how the media covers gun violence is remarkably limited, in part due to a lack of comprehensive data on the detailed incidence of gun violence events and of coverage of gun violence events in news media throughout the United States. Our collaboration with a private firm that tracks local and national televised news content has placed us in a position to overcome this hurdle. Using the complete transcript data of all news from local television stations in the United States over a six year timespan and comprehensive records of gun violence incidents throughout the country compiled by Gun Violence Archive, we investigate how media cover gun violence incidents