Community-funded Homicide Watch partners with Sun-Times to launch Chicago website

By Andrew Lapin

Homicide Watch, a crowdfunded community reporting site that tracks city murder victims, will launch its third site in Chicago by the end of the month through a partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times, reports the New York Times.

The startup is the brainchild of Laura and Chris Amico, who manage the site’s flagship Washington, D.C., edition. They’ve kept the site — which they started in September 2010 and most recently relaunched in August 2011 — running with help from crowdfunding campaigns on platforms like Kickstarter and Spot.us. Despite financial struggles, including their inability to find a local news organization to partner with, the Amicos have reaped many journalistic accolades for their data-driven reporting, including the 2012 Knight Public Service Award from the Online News Association. A second branch of Homicide Watch operates in Trenton, N.J., in partnership with The Trentonian.

Sun-Times editor-in-chief Jim Kirk told the New York Times he does not expect the partnership to be profitable, but noted that the move was meant in service to readers to assist in covering Chicago’s expanding murder rate.

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