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Posts Tagged ‘D.C.’

D.C. Start-up ‘Homicide Watch’ Could Die Without More Funding

D.C.-based Homicide Watch is one of the often pointed to examples of how a hyperlocal journalism start-up can plug coverage holes and make a difference, even in big cities with plenty of journalists already there. It covers murder in D.C. in a unique and ambitious way, from the ground up, which takes time to collect data and eyes to watch for mentions in social media.

But, the creators can’t sustain the project (founder Laura Amico is taking a one-year, out-of-area fellowship), and there’s no other local news partner that stepped up yet to take over. So they’re soliciting $40,000 in donations via Kickstarter to keep it alive. But right now, they’re just shy of $25,000, with only about a week to go.

Unless the public picks up the tick on donations — which will go to fund students who could do the work (and learn a lot) — the two-year-old start-up covering homicides in the U.S. Capital could itself die — or at the least go on a hiatus while Amico’s gone.


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Lessons From Risking It All For A Journalism Start-Up That Fails

Photo courtesy Daniel Victor

Many a journalist wonders what it would be like to leave the beat for the blog, but few act on the curiosity. They prize traits in their employers like stability, history and health insurance.

During his four years as a reporter at The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., Daniel Victor tasted online community collaboration in the news process through his beat blogs and tweets. He couldn’t shake the urge to be part of a deeper community conversation than allowed at a traditional beat reporting gig — even one where editors give room for innovation, as Victor’s did. So when he heard about a new D.C.-based online journalism start-up last year, he made the leap and landed the job of Community Host for local news site TBD.

Fast forward six months, and now Victor, who’s been quoted and noted in blogs from Poynter to Jezebel, learned in February that his job — along with most of his co-workers — is being eliminated as the website moves away from the vast blog network he helped assemble and toward a much smaller arts and entertainment niche. Bummer? Of course. But this 26-year-old doesn’t talk regrets. He’s too busy already thinking future and calculating how the failure will set him apart and set him up for great things. In fact, he’s already headed for them: Philly.com scooped Victor up to fill a similar community-building role there.

Here, he took some time to talk about the experience and what he learned.

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