Patterico's Pontifications


New L.A. Times Blog: The Homicide Report

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:00 am

L.A. Times crime reporter Jill Leovy has an absolutely fascinating new blog called The Homicide Report. Leovy explains:

The list represents an effort to provide comprehensive coverage of all homicides that occur in Los Angeles County.

Overwhelmed by the sheer volume, the Los Angeles Times, like other major media organizations, covers only a fraction of the more than 1,000 murders in Los Angeles County each year. Many violent deaths become, in essence, private homicides — catastrophic on a small scale, invisible on a broader one.

Starting with this week’s homicide report, however, the Times will list all homicides reported to the Los Angeles County coroner, plus additional information gleaned from street and law enforcement sources. This week’s list is larger than usual because of a January crime wave, but otherwise fairly typical in terms of the ages and ethnicities of those killed and the manner of their deaths.

If Leovy keeps this up, the small-scale tragedies will truly be visible on a broader scale.

It’s a great idea. I often feel that parts of the city are a war zone, and that the murders that take place don’t get the coverage that they deserve from the local paper. The answer is always that there isn’t enough space — but with the Internet, there is always more space. Leovy is taking advantage of this important strength of the Internet, and I salute her for it.

10 Responses to “New L.A. Times Blog: The Homicide Report”

  1. This is a great idea. The MSM is learning to think like bloggers, and showing a little entrepreneurial spirit.

    See-Dubya (feed19)

  2. Of course the LATimes has a long way to go when they have writers making comments as in this story, GOP bats down resolution debate.

    “Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky guided a nearly unified GOP caucus in opposition to a procedural vote to allow formal debate on the Iraq resolution.”

    Wasn’t it a vote for cloture, i.e., an end to debate before bringing the resolution to a vote?

    jeff (69c469)

  3. I meant they have a long way to go in thinking like bloggers, e.g., allowing people to easily and directly challenge their misrepresentations.

    jeff (69c469)

  4. Cross-posted under Justin’s entry above as well:

    Now they need to take the next step — marking them on an interactive map (e.g., Google) and grouping the narratives by municipality/neighborhood/section of the region. It wouldn’t be that much additional work per item and even if it were, it’s the kind of information that is of high value to the readership.

    And, come to think of it, if you’re logging all the homicides, you could leave a field in your database or spreadsheet to record the disposition of the case a year later – unsolved, solved with conviction (and sentence), awaiting trial — which would produce yet more valuable information about the justice system in the community.

    Hmm, sounds like how to do journalism…

    Reformed Journalist (08ce8f)

  5. Reformed – and the stories would practically write themselves. You could have a section in the print paper, or the online-but-non-blog paper that automatically kept track of ‘1 year later’ homocide statuses, for example.

    Dave (391b76)

  6. That’s almost three a day. What’s the average for Baghdad, ten a day?

    htom (412a17)

  7. This is a great idea. This gets around the LA Times trend of wrapping their reporting in that smooshy “you must vote Democrat” tone. LAT – Just give us the facts; we’ve not interested in your opinions.

    Wesson (c20d28)

  8. This seems like a way to enhance law enforcement and the tipline not just journalism.

    For the newspaper, it seems like a potential landmine. By presenting the entire set of information and linking to the stories, the readers are going to see the overall lack of coverage. They are going to get negative feedback, possibly considerable, for the stories they ignore.

    You have to start somewhere. I only hope they have the guts to weather the coming storm and to continue improving the reporting.

    pwr (552469)

  9. The Daily News has had an interactive homicide map posted for several months. Go to their home page and scroll down. The map is in the right column. The map is limited to the San Fernando Valley, but it gives an example of what the LAT could do for the rest of the city.

    Joe Zwers (592530)

  10. check out my blog which is the east coast version of the l.a. homicide report. just google ‘the murder book 2008″ and you’ll find it. thanks.

    paul (9d8ae2)

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