A joint project of The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University has put together one of the most comprehensive databases tracking mass killings in the U.S. The database contains information about mass killings since 2006, including the number of victims, location and weapon type. The project also includes an interactive timeline allowing users to browse through all the data. Josh Hoffner, the U.S. news director for The Associated Press, said the dataset can give reporters context into how a mass killing can fit into the bigger picture.
“Let’s say there’s a killing that occurs, the database will be able to immediately tell a reporter, ‘This is the twelfth mass killing, that compares to past years which were higher or lower.’ Or, ‘This is how many people have died in mass killings,’ that instant sort of textual paragraph or data point to show how this news event fits into the bigger picture,” said Hoffner.