Homicide Watch is gone, but its mission to cover every murder in the District isn’t. Six months after the murder reporting site closed, a new outlet aims to pick up where it left off.
Capitol Justice will have profiles of every murder victim and perpetrator in the District, along with updates on their cases, according to editor Jennifer Swift.
“It’s not just the notorious cases that we’re remembering,” Swift says. “We’re remembering every single person that is killed in D.C.”
Capitol Justice publisher Amos Gelb originally wanted to take over running Homicide Watch, which closed in January. When that plan fell through, Gelb decided to launch his similar site, which will be staffed by Swift and students from Gelb’s Washington Media Institute, an internship program.
Gelb claims he’s found a “sustainable” model for the site, but wouldn’t tell me what it is. Also under wraps: where the site’s initial funding is coming from. Homicide Watch’s founders estimated that their site cost $60,000 a year to run.
Gelb would say one thing about his business plan, though: He won’t try to keep the site afloat with ads.
“When you report on deaths, who’s going to advertise?” Gelb says. “Undertakers? Bail bonds people?”
After Capitol Justice launches sometime later this summer, Swift hopes it’ll tell people more about the murder victims in their own neighborhoods.
“They don’t just walk down the street and see a memorial, wondering who that person was,” Swift says.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery