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Change the way crime is covered. Create a reporting lab within Homicide Watch DC to cover every murder in Washington for one year.
Change the way crime is covered. Create a reporting lab within Homicide Watch DC to cover every murder in Washington for one year.
1,110 backers pledged $47,450 to help bring this project to life.

Lanier: “It’s not victory. But it feels like a good milestone for us.”

The District of Columbia will see less than 100 murders this year, something that hasn’t happened in a half-century. On Dec. 17, police chief Cathy Lanier sat down with Homicide Watch D.C. reporters Penny Ray and Sam Pearson.

"When I think about the number from where I started from in 1990 when we had 479, it seems dramatic," she said. "I've said since '07 our tipping point is less than 100 and we can do it. But I still think about 82 families who have lost somebody. So it's certainly not, it's not victory. But it feels like a good milestone for us. I think we passed the tipping point."

See the full interview here.

Thank You

We've just started publishing our annual Year in Review package, a collection of investigations, feature stories, data visualizations and guest columns looking back on homicide in D.C. in 2012. It is not an exaggeration to say that we wouldn’t be publishing today without you, our readers and supporters.

Over the summer, this site almost closed when our founding editor, Laura Amico, accepted a fellowship at Harvard University. The community rallied, and we raised enough money to keep the site alive. We hired three interns—Jonah Newman, Penny Ray and Sam Pearson—who have been running the site since September.

So, as we head into 2013, we’d like to thank everyone who pitched in and who spread the word. We look forward to the year ahead, as we continue to mark every death, remember every victim and follow every case.

You can see the full Year in Review collection here.

Welcome Back to Homicide Watch DC; Meet our Newest Contributors

Dear Readers,

In mid-August I had to come to you with some bad news: that a combination of lack of funding and opportunities in other cities would force Homicide Watch D.C. to permanently shut down. Your response to that message was overwhelming, and the volume of support that Chris and I, as founders of Homicide Watch D.C., received was simply breathtaking. Your financial support quickly followed and in less than 30 days we raised more than $40,000 to not only keep Homicide Watch D.C. alive, but to transform it.

Today marks the official start of that transformation.

Sam Pearson, Penny Ray, and Jonah Newman join the Homicide Watch team as your editor and reporters. Each are uniquely qualified for the positions and were selected out of the dozens of internship applications that we received.

They've been at work on the site since Friday and have published a dozen story updates to Homicide Watch D.C. already.

Much happened in the ten weeks in which Homicide Watch D.C. did not publish. Twelve people lost their lives to violence in D.C. Some defendants were convicted while others saw their cases dismissed. A jury hung. Suspects were arrested in twelve cases. Jurors were selected for a trial that will likely close this week.

We are happy to be bringing you these stories once again and hope that you'll join us in a heartfelt welcome to Sam, Penny and Jonah. I know they are excited to be a part of the Homicide Watch D.C. community and have recorded short video introductions so that you might get to know them better, too.

Laura Amico
Editor, Homicide Watch D.C.

P.S. We'll publish our thank-you post soon. If you donated and would like your name listed differently than it is on Kickstarter, please message us or email

A message from Laura

A message from Penny Ray

A message from Sam Pearson

A message from Jonah Newman

Homicide Watch at ONA12

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Homicide Watch DC: Now Accepting Applications for Reporting Internships

Are you a journalism student looking for an innovative platform to learn on? A legal studies student interested in learning more about how our community interacts with the criminal justice system? Can you report and write on deadline?

Homicide Watch DC is now hiring interns for a special one year student reporting lab. We believe that structured beat reporting tools like Homicide Watch provide excellent learning experiences for students because the platform guides reporters through the reporting process step-by-step. Students working on the platform will also learn to build a community around news products, data collection and reporting, and more.

We’re looking for students who are ready to work, who will be dedicated and can be edited. We are tough editors and we work on tight deadlines. Reporting for Homicide Watch means going to court, talking to families of suspects and victims, finding public documents and maintaining a public court calendar. This is a beat that requires planning ahead as well as responding to breaking news.

Undergraduate and graduate students in curriculums including journalism, criminal justice, law, sociology, and more are encouraged to apply.

Students working for Homicide Watch DC will:

  • report breaking news on homicides when they happen
  • do daily news checks, using traditional reporting and social media
  • spend at least one full day per week at DC Superior Court
  • gather documents on every murder case being covered
  • maintain a public court calendar for homicide cases
  • contribute to a project documenting how students learn to cover violent crime
  • write at least one feature-length story for a special year in review package
  • Time commitment: 15 hours per week
Pay: Weekly stipend

To apply: Send a resume, letter of recommendation, and links to published work if available to as soon as possible. Preference will be given to the strongest candidates who can begin work most immediately.