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Behind the Journalism: How The Times Works 

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How does The New York Times report on mass shootings?

updated June 30, 2022, 3:02 p.m. ET

“Our job is to never allow this to become routine, and to — once we do confirm it — react and cover it aggressively, as though it’s the very first one we’ve covered.” Marc Lacey, managing editor

Our overall goal is to give readers an in-depth account, while being sensitive to victims and loved ones. We want to avoid sensationalizing the crime or elevating the stature of the attacker.

Once we confirm a death count, we tell readers the scope of the shooting and how it fits into the bigger picture of these crimes across the country.

To create a consistent count of mass shootings in the United States, we have updated our definition of “mass shooting,” to include any shooting where four or more people are killed with a firearm — not including the assailant — in a public place and the shooting is not connected to another crime or circumstance, like a robbery, a drug deal or domestic violence. This definition, which was created by the Congressional Research Service, is based on the F.B.I.’s definition of mass murder. This definition is also used by the most comprehensive database on the subject: the Violence Project.




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