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Murder Ink

By Critical_Conformity     Feb 17, 2007 in Crime
Los Angeles Times crime reporter Jill Leovy believes that no victim’s story should go untold. But news holes are shrinking, so Leovy has launched The Homicide Report online, where she’ll take note of every death in L.A. County.
The Homicide Report is a listing of any human being who dies at the hand of another in Los Angeles Country. Information comes from the Los Angeles County Coroner in addition to information obtained from various other sources.
The Report says they "seek to reverse an age-old paradox of big-city crime reporting, which dictates that only the most unusual and statistically marginal homicide cases receive press coverage, while those cases at the very eye of the storm" --" those which best expose the true statistical dimensions of the problem of deadly violence -- remain hidden."
There is selective news coverage of course in a County where estimates say that over 1,100 people die each year from homicide. There is limited space by print media and limited time for broadcast media.
Such selectivity ensures that the people and places most affected by homicides are least likely to be seen, while the safest people are inundated with information about crimes unlikely to ever touch their lives.
In L.A., people understand this paradox well says the report , who get numerous letters. - " When a celebrity's wife or girlfriend is killed.or when a female student is killed in Westwood, we know reaction will be hard and swift. " "Such cases, catastrophic in their own right, traditionally generate a forceful response--not just from the press, but also from politicians, activists, institutions and the general public."
In L.A not all suffer equally from homicides that happen. Night by night, higher numbers of young men, most of them black or Latino, many with criminal records, are shot in drive-by shootings in Compton, Watts, South-Central Los Angeles, or any of a number of neighborhoods in LA long associated with relatively high crime rates and poverty.
The Media takes little notice of these deaths. there is Immense private heartbreak, familes broken apart, while the phenomenon of routine killing in the public streets of a major, first-world city is diffused into virtual invisibility. The Media most of the time only worries about broken toenails, or the latest affairs.
With the Homicide Report, however, They seek to exploit the advantages of the internet to eliminate selectivity in homicide coverage, and give readers a more complete picture of who dies from homicide, where, and why -- thus conveying both the personal story and the statistical story with greater accuracy.
Hats off to you Jill Leovy and the LA times, Keep up the Great Work.
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