As the director of our ongoing mini-documentary series OpenGov Champions I am pleased to see that Homicide Watch DC, one of our Champs, have met their Kickstarter fundraising goal to keep their project alive while founders Laura and Chris Amico are fulfilling academic interests in Boston. Laura has a Nieman-Berkman fellowship in journalism innovation at Harvard for the coming academic year. They reached their goal of $40,000 4 days before the deadline. As of writing this, they have exceeded it with donations from more than 1,000 individual backers.
It is such a great testimony to how much the different communities in Washington, D.C. value their efforts to open up court data on the city’s violent crime. For weeks, my Twitter feed has been filled with pleas from across town to contribute to their Kickstarter project so they can hire a reporter to keep Homicide Watch following the full cycle of every homicide in D.C. through the justice system. I saw Laura and Chris after they had just launched the Kickstarter bid, and Laura told me she felt torn about moving to Boston with the uncertain future of the project, while the community on the site was pleading her to keep going. There is a real need for the site that fills the information gap around homicide in D.C.
Sunlight supported Homicide Watch DC by donating footage I had shot for the OpenGov Champ video to be used in their Kickstarter video. We are very happy for Laura and Chris to have met their goal, and wish them much success in their future endeavors!
We’re constantly searching for innovators who are using technology to create more government transparency. Check out our latest OpenGov Champions video about Liz Barry, who along with others from Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, is using DIY tools to map environmental catastrophes like the BP Oil Spill and other affected urban and rural areas.
If you get inspired by Homicide Watch and Public Lab, please nominate an OpenGov Champ from your community.