A month into his tenure as Chairman and CEO of CNN, Chris Licht said that the network would create a new beat focused on gun violence in America in light of the tragic mass shooting events in Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa, and elsewhere.
Four months later, CNN announced the team who comprise the Guns in America beat, led by CNN guns and security correspondent Josh Campbell.
This new beat will explore who buys and sells guns, who makes and regulates them, and dives into the communities most impacted to help illuminate possible solutions to America’s epidemic of gun violence.
Campbell has been CNN’s guns and security correspondent since 2018 and has helped lead the network’s breaking news coverage of public safety and security issues. The former FBI supervisory special agent won an Emmy in 2021 for reporting on the murder of George Floyd and has also gained Emmy nominations for reporting on terrorism and immigration issues.
He was part of the CNN team honored with the 2020 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for coverage on the ground in Istanbul reporting on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Former CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin has strongly advocated for the creation of a beat focused exclusively on gun violence in America, saying TV news networks should “not look away from school shootings.”
In a column published for The Atlantic back in May, Baldwin wrote:
Television networks regularly assign correspondents to beats—specific topics such as the White House, crime and justice, or the State Department—where journalists can take time to specialize, dig deep, and doggedly chase tips. How about adding mass shootings as a regular beat? Reporters should pound on the doors of senators who continue to vote no on gun-control legislation, who are prepared to sacrifice lives on the altar of the NRA and the good ol’ boys.
Whether Baldwin influenced Licht’s decision to launch the beat or if this was something already in the works, we’re not sure.
Anyways, other members of CNN’s Guns in America beat include:
Stephen Gutowski — Founder of The Reload and has been writing about guns and politics since he founded his first publication in 2009. Before that, he spent almost seven years as a staff writer at The Washington Free Beacon. Gutowski will provide additional reporting and analysis.
Jennifer Mascia — Senior news writer and founding staffer at The Trace, a nonprofit outlet focused exclusively on gun violence that launched in 2015. She previously reported on gun violence for The New York Times, where she began her career as a news assistant. She wrote and produced The Gun Report, a daily tally of gun violence victims in America that launched after the Sandy Hook shooting. Mascia also served as the lead writer for the Times’s annual Neediest Cases campaign, which profiles New Yorkers in need.
Abené Clayton — Reporter in The Guardian’s California office and is currently the lead reporter on the newspaper’s “Guns & Lies in America” series, which launched in 2019. The beat focuses on the impacts of and solutions to community violence. She started covering gun violence in her hometown of Richmond, California. She is now based in Los Angeles – where she covers the people who live in the areas most affected by gun violence.