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Project | 4-6 weeks

Run, hide, fight: growing up under the gun



Gun violence is a part of life in America, but how do young people experience it and what is it like to be part of a generation growing up with the threat of school shootings and random acts of violence? What is the real toll on our mental health and sense of safety? This is your chance to participate in a collaborative documentary* about how gun violence affects teens, families and communities. In 2022 more than 5,000 teens were killed or injured by gun violence. In 2017, guns became the leading cause of death among young people– surpassing car crashes.

Even people who are not directly impacted can still be affected by fear, loss, grief, and trauma. Violence has become so normalized that many schools regularly engage in active shooter drills and trainings to prepare students for an attacker. In early 2023, during a deadly mass shooting, students at Michigan State University received text messages from the school instructing them to “run, hide, fight” in an effort to save lives. This series will explore those actions from many different perspectives.

Although mass shootings get a lot of attention in the news, other forms of gun violence – unintentional shootings, gang violence, crimes, and suicides–happen every day across the country. This project will explore how gun violence affects your life, your friends, and your community. We’re also looking for stories of action, change and hope to inspire others and explore solutions to this national crisis.

DEADLINE: March 15, 2024.

*if you would like your story idea considered for SRL's documentary, please submit a pitch using this form by Friday, October 20, 2023.


Find a story about how gun violence affects young people. Think about your own experiences, your friends, family, school and broader community. How are you and people in your life directly or indirectly impacted by gun violence?

Use a solutions journalism approach to guide your story. Describe the problem and how people are working to address it.


Run- How does the fear of gun violence affect young people? How do young people seek to protect themselves? Who are the survivors of gun violence and how has that impacted their views of the world? What's it like living in a community, city/town, or country where gun deaths are part of everyday life?

Hide - Explore the often hidden ways gun violence affects young people. What doesn’t get enough attention when people talk about this issue, and why? For example: gun-related injuries, survivors’ trauma, community mental health impacts.What are some of the long-term effects of gun violence?

Fight - Explore youth activism. Tell a story about teens fighting to make the world a safer place.. Explore the ways people come together to support and uplift each other in the wake of gun violence.


  • Profile (2-4 min. long): A profile is the story of one person. It has voiceover (VO), b-roll, pictures, nats (natural sound), interviews of family members or peers of that one person. Here’s an example of a profile.
  • Explainer (2-4 min. long): A video explaining a concept. Often it includes a host/narrator speaking directly to the camera. The tone could be serious, funny, or informative. Here’s an example of an explainer.
  • News package (3-5 min. long): Video stories about newsworthy issues and topics. A news package has factual information, balanced reporting, research, voice overs, multiple interviews soundbites, b-roll footage. It may also include things like infographics, a reporter standup, nats (natural sound from filming b-roll). Here’s an example of a news package.
  • NAT package (2-4 min. long): A video story guided by the natural sound from interviews and the environment where you’re filming. Natural sound, commonly known as “NAT sound,” puts the viewer in the place the story was told by enhancing the scene(s) with video containing rich audio such as a musician singing at a train station, a storm approaching, or the sound of a tractor plowing the field. This kind of story would often not have a voiceover narration. Here’s an example of a nat package.
  • Audio/podcast story: (3-5 min. long): Create a short audio story for SRL’s On Our Minds Season 4 podcast, about teen life and mental health. Check out SRL’s video about how to record audio, and these resources from NPR training about how to make an audio story.

Remember the broll!

For video formats, b-roll is going to be very important. A good profile, news package or NAT package could be taken to the next level with some great b-roll! Here’s more advice on using your phone to film broll. Use b-roll as the VISUAL REPRESENTATION of the story. If you are interviewing someone, listen closely, make notes, and then record video of the actions, objects, and places described during the interview.



You must also have this release form completed to confirm your participation in Student Reporting Labs (SRL). NOTE: The SRL team evaluates pieces based on this criteria. Please be sure your story incorporates these requirements.

Students are encouraged to publish their stories on their school/club/program website or through video/social platforms such as YouTube, Instagram or Twitter and tag Student Reporting Labs. Check with your teacher to find out instructions for class submissions.





Estimated Time

4-6 weeks