Analysis of Weekend Gun Violence Coverage

In Chicago, gun violence is a significant local issue and so it receives abundant focus from the media. However, coverage of gun violence in Chicago by local news outlets is inconsistent. In order to pinpoint inconsistencies, Chicago Justice Project compared the coverage of gun violence over this past weekend from seven outlets that cover local news in the Chicago area. These outlets are the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, ABC Local, WGN TV, NBC Local, Fox Chicago, and CBS Local. In the chart below titled “Total Articles Published by Media Outlets Over the Weekend,” the difference in media coverage by each outlet is clear. 

The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times are both print media outlets, but their coverage of weekend gun violence in Chicago differs greatly. The Sun-Times published a tally of shooting incidents that was updated over the course of the weekend. They define the weekend as beginning at 5pm on Friday evening and ending at 5am on Monday morning. From Friday evening to Monday morning, the Sun-Times published nine articles covering gun violence in Chicago. In contrast, the Tribune published just one article covering a singular incident of gun violence on Friday evening. Because the Tribune does not conduct a tally of violent incidents, they do not do reporting that defines when the weekend begins and ends. 

Starting March 1st our Chicago Justice Show will be streaming 3 times a week on Monday – Wednesday – Friday starting @ 5:30pm (CT). On Monday’s we will be focusing on media coverage of crime, violence, and justice issues both in Chicago and nationally. You can stream the show on our Facebook Page, Twitter Page, YouTube Page, and our Twitch Channel.

Of the five TV stations covering local news in Chicago, Fox Chicago had the most detailed coverage of weekend violence. Interestingly, Fox publishes articles from the Sun-Times Media Wire that tally shooting incidents throughout the weekend, so Fox’s coverage is almost identical to the Sun-Times. Over the course of the weekend, Fox published six articles covering incidents of gun violence across Chicago. CBS Local also kept a tally of shootings over the course of the weekend, publishing three updated tallies between Friday evening and Monday morning. Just like the Sun-Times and Fox, the first incident reported was at 8pm on Friday and the last incident included in the tally was at 1:30am on Monday morning. WGN TV did not conduct a tally of incidents throughout the weekend, and published two total articles between Friday evening and Monday morning about weekend gun violence. Finally, ABC Local and NBC Local did not publish any articles covering weekend gun violence in Chicago over the weekend. Because of the nature of their coverage, WGN TV, ABC, and NBC do not detail when the weekend begins and ends. 

Below is a chart titled “Local Media Coverage of Gun Violence in Chicago Over the Weekend (2/12-2/15)” that shows the number of articles published by each media outlet over the course of the weekend.

Author: Tracy Siska

Tracy Siska is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project.

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