students holding signs promoting gun reform

Astor on News Media’s Impact on Teen Gun Violence

Ron Avi Astor, professor of social welfare and education, was interviewed by KCBS Radio about the effects of media reporting on school shootings, particularly how news coverage can perpetuate more acts of terrorism. Many shooters “tend to be suicidal and they have high suicidal ideation with a plan. And they plan to take other people out with them,” Astor said. The media’s fixation on the shooter as opposed to the victims has a tendency to increase the frequency of attacks, he explained. “The big thing that we don’t talk about very often is that the frequency of the media reporting and how the media reports … can increase the frequency” of teen gun violence, he said, noting the same holds true for acts of suicide or terrorism. Astor encouraged news organizations to follow rules around suicide and terrorism prevention by carefully reporting on such issues so as to not glorify the shooters.


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