Nieman Foundation at Harvard
The News Lens in Taiwan is doing what media startups in the region hesitate to do — acquiring other sites
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July 31, 2014, 12:56 p.m.
Business Models
LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   July 31, 2014

The team behind Homicide Watch D.C. is looking for a new home for the crime reporting website. Specifically, Laura and Chris Amico want to find a permanent partner to take over operations for the D.C. site, similar to the Homicide Watch sites in Chicago and Trenton.

In 2012, the couple relocated to Cambridge when Laura became a Nieman-Berkman fellow here at the Nieman Foundation. In 2013, the Amicos partnered with Boston NPR station WBUR to use the structured reporting methods of Homicide Watch in Learning Lab, an education project.

This week, Laura announced that she’s joining The Boston Globe as a news editor for data projects and multimedia. For now, Chris will assume the day-to-day operations of the site. In a blog post, Laura says the overall goal is to find another organization to take over those responsibilities:

The reality is this: Chris and I know that we are no longer the right people to shepherd HWDC. It is a local news site and the DC community deserves for it to be run by people who live there. In short, it needs a DC home in order to continue to exist and thrive.

We are hopeful that this will happen by the end of the year (we have conversations underway with two possible partners) and we look forward to helping that transition and following the continued good work of Homicide Watch in DC.

The Amicos would keep the right to license the software that powers Homicide Watch to other media companies. However, Laura told Poynter that if no D.C. partner is found they would consider shuttering the site. “It’s the worst-case scenario because we know it’s something that’s very important to the D.C. community,” she told Poynter.

Homicide Watch D.C. has faced an uncertain future before. Prior to Laura’s Nieman-Berkman Fellowship, the Amicos considered putting the site on “hiatus” for the duration of their time in Cambridge. A successful Kickstarter campaign raised over $40,000 to fund interns to do the legwork and reporting for the site.

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