Is there a social contagion component to mass shootings? Research shows that there is.
Researchers at Arizona State University analyzed shootings that were high profile with four or more victims and found that one begets more in the immediate aftermath. Researchers also found that the more media coverage a shooting receives, the more likely that more are to follow.
We have made an editorial decision at Redacted not to cover mass shootings for several reasons. We do not want to follow media hysteria that covers high-profile shootings while leaving out others. Most victims of gun violence are from lower-profile inner-city shootings, presenting an editorial conundrum.
Also, I started my career as a newspaper reporter in San Francisco and the newspaper policy was not to cover Golden Gate Bridge suicides for just this reason: so as not to romanticize and contribute to social contagion. There are days we question this decision but we still think it’s the best policy and this study reinforces this decision. We welcome your thoughts on the matter!