Huff Post Front Page Graphic Highlights US Gun Violence Epidemic

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 11.17.45 PM April 22, 2013 - Friday night, The Huffington Post debuted on its front page a striking graphic representing US deaths related to gun violence since the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2013. The moving graphic illustrates nearly real-time statistics of gun deaths across the country. Many of these gun related instances appear to be concentrated on the eastern part of the country (with the exception of California and Texas). It also appears that most gun violence is situated in densely populated areas. Congress has since failed to pass an assault weapons ban.

For some perspective, according to the Huff Post graphic there have been 2,244 deaths since the Sandy Hook shooting (98 days). There have been a total of 852 civilian deaths in Iraq since January 2013 and 2,537 civilian causalities in Afghanistan from 2009-2010.

Huffington Post states it's methodology is based on "compiled news reports of gun-related homicides and accidental deaths in the U.S. since the massacre in Newtown, Conn. on the morning of Dec. 14."

This is perhaps an example of digital media journalism at its finest. The use of interactive mapping, data visualization, and infographics are becoming increasingly popular means of documenting and showing information. As gun-related violence continues to infiltrate cities and neighborhoods across this country, the use of media here seems like the most appropriate means of providing the public with necessary information while raising awareness.

A question we're most concerned with here at MEDIA MAKE CHANGE is what do we do with this visual information? Related to this question concerns, how can media, in this instance, work to inform and evoke necessary action to change the current epidemic in this country related to gun violence? What calls-to-action might we engage so this graphic doesn't simply collect virtual dust?

A good place to start would be to contact your local congress person (senator and HOR) and, as professor Sarah Jackson suggested, email the graphic directly to your representative.

Kudos to Huffington Post for using media to spread information and evoke awareness. Here's hoping we can use this online media artifact to change the course of gun violence spread across our neighborhoods offline.