Mission: To counterbalance the penchant of news organizations and journalists to cover mass shootings exhaustively even as they devote relatively little attention to the chronic gun violence that exposes children in many city neighborhoods to danger every day.
Background: Months after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, claimed seventeen lives, more than two hundred teen journalists came together to document the children, ages zero to 18, killed in shootings during a single year in America (not including suicides, police-involved shootings, or shooters who were themselves killed while committing a shooting). The goal of the project, which is a work in progress, is to shift attention away from the numbness that seeps into the discussion around gun violence by humanizing the many hundreds of children and teens who lost their lives to guns over the last year, and to move readers to a place where they begin to feel that any child's death by gun is unacceptable. Partners supporting the project include The Trace, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to reporting on gun violence; the Gun Violence Archive, which maintains a running count of shooting incidents from which the project team identified child victims of gun violence; the Miami Herald, which provided additional research; the Herald’s sister papers in the McClatchy newspaper group, which contributed stories specific to their coverage areas; NowThis, which ported the project to video; and Global Student Square, which helped recruit more than a hundred of the student reporters.
Outstanding Web Features: Employing an affecting presentation centered around a wall of victims' names, the site invites readers to learn more about the twelve hundred young people in the United States who have been killed by guns in the twelve months since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Each mini-portrait on the site provides a brief but moving description of the young victim before his or her life was snatched away by a gun, as well as the details of the shooting. Individual portraits are linked to "category" pages — athletes, college-bound seniors, community volunteers, diligent students, musicians, siblings, and so on — listing the names and stories of other young people whose lives were cut tragically short, as well the teen reporters who contributed to the site. Visitors interested in learning more can read up on the project's goals, learn more about what the teen journalists learned, dig into the methodology behind the project, and learn about some of the obstacles journalists encounter when reporting on suicides.