Professor wins Eppy Award for Mass Killings Database

The longest-running and most comprehensive data source on mass killings, managed by North East professor James Alan Fox, has won two EPPY awards.

The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University Mass Killing Database won Best Community Service Project/Reporting and came second for Best Use of Data/Infographics.

Headshot by James Alan Fox
James Alan Fox, Lipman family professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

The database has only been publicly available since August, adding to the accolade. The EPPYs, awarded by Editor & Publisher, honor publishers of digital news in more than 30 categories.

Fox’s database references every mass murder in the United States in which four or more people (excluding the perpetrator) were killed within a 24-hour window, regardless of weapon, location, motivation, or victim-perpetrator relationship.

There have been 35 mass shootings so far this year, a number Fox says is unprecedented. Overall, the US has suffered 39 mass murders involving firearms or other weapons since the beginning of the year.

“I put a lot of time and effort into this project,” says Fox, who has studied mass murder for more than 40 years. “I work on it almost every day, trying to fill in details on cases—even cases that are years old. So I was quite surprised but incredibly pleased that it was recognised.”

Fox’s database is described as the authoritative collaboration between news agencies.

“This is a powerful project that demonstrates in a very tangible, visually accessible way the epidemic of gun violence in America,” writes an EPPY judge.

Another judge adds: “This is the kind of news gathering project that should be required reading in our high schools and colleges. And it should serve as an example to all journalism and mass communication students across the country [an] example of how the media can shape the country.”


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