Last week Clay Shirky included Homicide Watch in his presentation at The Guardian’s Activate Summit in New York.
I’m fascinated by how Shirky sees Homicide Watch fitting into the media landscape. Because it’s the reporting that I always wanted to do, and because it’s the reporting that feels natural, it’s easy for me to forget that perhaps this is very different from what newsrooms do (and hope to accomplish). And Shirky reminds me that the power of Homicide Watch isn’t the reporting but the resource. Like Shirky says, Homicide Watch creates a database. Newsrooms create morgues. Love that juxtaposition. As reporters and editors are asked to do more with less, doesn’t it make sense to ask what you do to do more? I’ll take a database over a morgue any day
A few very minor corrections: Chris and I came to DC from Northern California (Santa Rosa to be exact), and I came from a crime-reporting background. Also, a clarification on getting the police chief on record: she has, several times, returned emails. The situation Shirky was likely referring to was this.