Using Genre Theory to Reduce Mass Shootings
“Suicide contagion” is a well-established phenomenon in which highly publicized suicides are followed by a spike in the general suicide rate. In recent years, scholars have proposed a similar media contagion effect in mass shootings, a claim that’s supported by a growing body of statistical and sociological evidence. The fact that increased media coverage is linked to an increase in the probability of another mass shooting suggests that news media exercise some power over mass shootings. This paper, drawing attention to the “genres” within mass shootings, explores how news media can rewrite these narratives in order to craft a more responsible response.