As the November midterm elections approach, the race for control of the Senate has tightened dramatically. Margins in some key states are so thin that the outcome could be determined by a small number of votes.
Who casts those votes is at the heart of a renewed debate over access to the ballot, sparked by lawmakers in the 28 states that have passed new voting laws in the past five years.
Great news: Laura and Chris Amico, the team behind the smart, award-winning – revolutionary – Homicide Watch site, are branching out into a new area. And they’re bringing the notions of structured journalism with them. … I’m sure Laura and Chris will be just as successful with Learning Lab – not just with creating structures that serve their audience better, but using those structures to do better reporting. Which will help serve their audience even better. Now that’s a virtuous cycle.
As we live through the data-driven transformation of journalism, we should never assume that information is impersonal or unbiased, or unaffected by editorial decisions, both big and little. … They’ve shown us how the choices of journalists and editors continue to matter, even in an age of big data and real-time feeds. For all the neutral style and straight-ahead presentation, the Amicos’ greatest gift, as people inventing a new model of journalism, turns out to be their sense of humanity.
Homicide Watch is one of those projects that stays in your head. If you tell or edit or assemble stories for a living, it’s also likely to change the way you see the narratives you’re making.
It’s a remarkable thing to behold — part database, part news site, it also serves as a kind of digital memorial for homicide victims in Washington. Their pictures are published, their cases are followed and their deaths are acknowledged as a meaningful event in the life of the city.
Homicide Watch matters because they are more than just thorough, they’re innovative. They’ve designed the site like a set of feeds and a wiki rather than like the crime section of a newspaper. The home page shows the most recent updates on all pending cases. Each victim gets their own page, where those updates are aggregated. Every murder is mapped. Every page has the tip line for the detective assigned to the case. Every page hosts a place for remembrance of the victim.
This way of working isn’t just technologically innovative, it’s socially innovative, in a way journalism desperately needs.
Homicide Watch, with its fundamental approach of beat-coverage-as-database-building, is one of the prime examples of new forms of digital journalism that blow past the old article format. (See also: PolitiFact, and Anil Dash’s call for publishers to stop creating Web pages and start creating news streams and APIs.)