From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.
Homicide Watch D.C., the only news site in the District to provide extensive coverage of every homicide for the past two years, is in danger of temporarily shutting down. Site co-founder Laura Amico has received the prestigious Neiman-Berkman Fellowship and will be moving to Harvard University with her husband (and site co-founder) Chris Amico. As a result, for the next year, the two will need help to keep up the site’s mission to “Mark every death. Remember every victim. Follow every case.”
According to Laura Amico, there have been multiple conversations with local media organizations and universities over the past two years about partnering, but she and Chris were unable to reach an agreement with any organization, creating the potential for a shutdown.
There is some hope though. Homicide Watch D.C. is currently trying to raise $40,000 through Kickstarter to support about five paid interns to run the day-to-day operations on the site for the next year. Laura Amico would monitor and mentor the journalism students participating in this Digital Crime Beat Training Experiment.
So far, fundraising for the site has been brisk. The Kickstarter page launched Tuesday evening and by Sunday afternoon, more than 340 people had pledged a total of over $12,000 for the site. That still leaves about $28,000 to raise by September 13.
In a post on Homicide Watch D.C. and in an email on Thursday, Laura Amico expressed her thanks for the pledges that have come in so far and her hope that the site can continue:
“Together we have changed the face of crime reporting and told the world that the common news values for violent crime reporting are wrong. We have said, together, with one voice, that how people live and die here, and how those deaths are recognized, matters to every one of us.
In an effort to continue this valuable work, we are seeking to transform Homicide Watch D.C. into a student reporting lab. We need $40,000 to do it, and we hope you will help us.
I have been overwhelmed with the support we have received in the last 48 hours, both financial and emotional. I have said, time and again, that Homicide Watch D.C. is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s also been the hardest to leave. It is my greatest hope and prayer right now that there is some way for the mission of this project to continue, because while I am leaving, the people who this project really matters to, those affected by violent crime, remain here in D.C. And I’m asking people to support this project not for me, but for them.”
On a personal note, Homicide Watch D.C.’s coverage of homicides is truly unparalleled, and the site has been an invaluable resource for my coverage of homicides in Borderstan. I encourage everyone to donate to the Kickstarter campaign.