Writing about local crimes on a blog can impact a community in many different ways. It can alert people to a problem; help catch criminals; create a sense of community; create negative images about a neighborhood; diffuse feelings of helplessness; and/or encourage feelings of frustration, just to name a few. Kojo’s joined by three local bloggers who each approach crime coverage quite differently.

Guests

  • Dan Silverman Author of the website "Prince of Petworth"
  • Laura Norton Amico Author of the website “Homicide Watch D.C.”
  • Doug Johnson Co-editor of the website "Who Murdered Robert Wone"

Transcript

  • 12:25:56

    MR. KOJO NNAMDISay there's a murder somewhere in the District. High profile cases will be in the news 24/7 for a while, but most homicides, and there were 143 last year, end up on page, oh, B3 of The Washington Post, a few lines under crime news. Increasingly, neighborhood blogs and websites are stepping up, where traditional media are stepping down. Some blogs and websites report crime as a quality of life issue, a break-in or a mugging on a particular block. It's a balance, since many local blogs want to keep the neighborhood news positive, upbeat. Still, others have taken up crime as their sole focus, reporting statistics and mapping murders or burglaries across the area. Others get personal stories about the victims, pleas for information that might help catch the criminal. These sites are filling in where the traditional media leave off. Here to explore the role of local websites and blogs and crime reporting is Dan Silverman, author of the Prince of Petworth website. Dan, Good to see you again.

  • 12:26:56

    MR. DAN SILVERMANNice to see you.

  • 12:26:58

    NNAMDIAlso joining us in the studio is Laura Norton Amico, the author of the website Homicide Watch D.C. Laura Norton Amico, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:27:07

    MS. LAURA NORTON AMICOThanks, Kojo.

  • 12:27:09

    NNAMDIDo you read a neighborhood blog? What do you like to see reported about your area? You can call us, 800-433-8850. Dan, you struggle daily with the issue of how and whether to report crime on your site Prince of Petworth. Tells us about that, and where do you come down and how you come down.

  • 12:27:26

    SILVERMANUnfortunately, there's no science to how I come down. It really does change every day. One of the things that I do try to make an effort to always talk about is when, unfortunately, a murder has occurred. If there's a murder that has occurred, no matter where it happened in the city, I will post about it. And then if a gun has been used in a crime, I try to post about that as well, and then I try to keep some geographic diversity. That's the harder part.

  • 12:27:55

    NNAMDIHow do you post when it comes to, say, robberies, muggings, that kind of thing?

  • 12:28:00

    SILVERMANWell, I should say this right away. I have to give major credit to the MPD and how much they've improved over the years. They maintain a number of LISTSERVs for all the wards, for all the police districts, and they have gotten very, very good at disseminating that information. And so that's one way I'll get the information, and then the other way is quite simply readers will e-mail me. And that also gets complicated because, sometimes, they'll e-mail me and say, hey, there were just six police cars that went by my house. What's going on?

  • 12:28:32

    NNAMDIYeah. And your response?

  • 12:28:35

    SILVERMANI'll contact the police department.

  • 12:28:37

    NNAMDII don't know right now. Laura, you launched your site in October of last year, and you have a different test for what gets posted on your site. Tell us about Homicide Watch D.C.

  • 12:28:47

    AMICOHomicidewatch.org takes the approach of every homicide in the District that's worth reporting on and covering. We do that in a variety of ways through pulling in profile information for victims and suspects, social media and memorials, and then following the case through the court system and its investigation.

  • 12:29:05

    NNAMDIAnd you follow all cases?

  • 12:29:06

    AMICOWe do.

  • 12:29:07

    NNAMDIAnd you wanted the focus to be the victims. Why?

  • 12:29:11

    AMICORight now, the focus is mostly on the victims because that's -- we made the decision, when we started, that we could not go back and cover old cases. As the cases that we're currently covering moved through the court system, there's gonna be more and more information about the suspects and defendants and where they stand in their cases.

  • 12:29:30

    NNAMDII read the article about you, but for people who don't, what started you on this odyssey?

  • 12:29:35

    AMICOI'm a cops reporter who moved out to D.C. from California, and I didn't see the type of coverage, particularly on homicides, that I really wanted to see in my community. I decided to start the blog as a way to start providing that, and look into the ways that we do remember who's being killed on our streets.

  • 12:29:55

    NNAMDIIt's very time consuming.

  • 12:29:56

    AMICOA very time consuming.

  • 12:29:57

    NNAMDIHow much time?

  • 12:29:58

    AMICOI spend about 70 hours a week on it, and my husband, about 15.

  • 12:30:02

    NNAMDI800-433-8850. She also goes to the courthouse, collects all the documents -- the charging documents and the like. And you post them all, correct?

  • 12:30:12

    AMICOWe have an active documents library online with all the court documents for every case beginning in October, also a comprehensive courts counter for all dates for homicide cases in the district.

  • 12:30:24

    NNAMDIIn case you're just joining us, that's the voice of Laura Norton Amico, author of the website Homicide Watch -- is it homicidewatch.org?

  • 12:30:31

    AMICOCorrect.

  • 12:30:32

    NNAMDIHomicidewatch.org. She joins us in studio along with Dan Silverman. He is the author of the Prince of Petworth website. Joining us by telephone is Doug Johnson. He is one of the four co-editors for the Who Murdered Robert Wone website. His day job is as a journalist of the Voice of America. He joins by phone from VOA. Doug, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:30:53

    MR. DOUG JOHNSONThank you. It's a thrill to be here.

  • 12:30:54

    NNAMDIYou're a co-editor of the website. Can you remind us about what happened in the Wone case?

  • 12:31:00

    JOHNSONCertainly. Yes. Well, it goes back several years, back to 2006, when there was a very strange murder that occurred at 1509 Swann Street. It was the murder of Robert Wone. He died of three stab wounds. And I think what brought us to this case, for those who may not be familiar with it, it was just going through the criminal file last year, last June. Still, to this point, nobody has ever been charged with his murder. We would like to see that change. We would like to see some solution to this case. And that's really what, you know, got us on this journey.

  • 12:31:38

    NNAMDIYou and your co-editors did not know Robert Wone or his family, why did you launch the website devoted to this case?

  • 12:31:45

    JOHNSONWell, you know, I guess because, one, we felt we could be fair arbiters in this. We didn't know Robert or his family. Although, we've come to know a great many people involved since we've launched it. And -- but I think as it moved on, there was a sense that we had a responsibility to do this. I mean its origins were essentially over dinner. My partner Craig Brownstein, who was also one of co-founders, was having his dinner in December some years ago. The four us -- Michael and David who were the other two founders -- we're discussing the case, because the affidavit had just came out -- the first affidavit, charging one of the Swann Street's housemaids.

  • 12:32:25

    JOHNSONAnd it read -- for those who haven't read it -- I mean, it is just a taught read. We couldn't believe what we were reading. Long and short, we finished our meal. We come back home. We go online. We continue to sort of not believe what we're seeing. Every page -- it's just like, well, how can that be, how can that be. And then the sense hit us, why is no one talking about this case. And we were quiet for a moment. And literally, we look at each other. And I said, well, I guess we have to. And that's when it started.

  • 12:32:55

    NNAMDILaura, it's my understanding that you were inspired by Doug's site when you were thinking about your site.

  • 12:33:01

    AMICOYou know, we had Homicide Watch in development and brainstorming for about a year before launching, just using free WordPress software. And I did a lot of looking around the different murder maps, murder blogs. And that was one that certainly caught my attention for the depth and breadth of information that it was providing. I looked at it, and said why can't we do this for every case in the District, because every victim and every suspect deserves this sort of follow-through?

  • 12:33:28

    NNAMDIHere's what a comment on Homicide Watch's website said, "There certainly is a crying need for such an accounting, as the crimes are ongoing, enforcement woeful and reporting skimpy. Congratulations on getting this blog off the ground." Are those some of the reasons you started the site?

  • 12:33:45

    AMICOIt is. I was pleased to see, once we launched, that there's an immediate audience and interests for this type of information, that people do want to know who's being killed in the District. And they do wanna know the status of the cases.

  • 12:33:59

    NNAMDIOn to the telephones again. Here is McConan (sp?) in Washington, D.C. McConan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please. Hi, McConan. Are you there? I think -- I hear you.

  • 12:34:10

    MCCONANYes. Yes.

  • 12:34:11

    NNAMDIGo right ahead, please.

  • 12:34:12

    MCCONANOkay. Yes. How are you, sir?

  • 12:34:14

    NNAMDII am well.

  • 12:34:16

    MCCONANYou know, I'm a cab driver in D.C. I have been robbed twice in northeast, southeast. The first time, you know, police came, they reported there (unintelligible) side. And the second time on southeast side, in Anacostia. I wanna get services to those people at (word?) station at night to Latino. I -- you know, these incidents happen. Somebody should wonder, you know, why we are not getting services...

  • 12:34:40

    NNAMDIWere any of your...

  • 12:34:41

    MCCONAN...and the police...

  • 12:34:42

    NNAMDIWere any of...

  • 12:34:42

    MCCONAN...and the police, the second time, did not come. And I always curse myself. I do.

  • 12:34:48

    NNAMDIThe police did not come the second time?

  • 12:34:50

    MCCONANNo.

  • 12:34:51

    NNAMDIWere either of your robberies solved?

  • 12:34:57

    MCCONANWell, nobody came. So I cursed myself and I left.

  • 12:35:02

    NNAMDIMcConan is making a complaint that you hear from a lot of cab drivers in the District. How do you make decisions about whether you carry stories like that, Dan Silverman?

  • 12:35:11

    SILVERMANThat's a good example actually. It would require these cab drivers to e-mail me. And if I saw six -- not even six. If I saw two e-mails that cab drivers were getting robbed, there's no question that I would post it that day or the day after. That has happened a lot with car break-ins, street robberies, arson -- things like that. If there's a trend, I'll definitely post about it.

  • 12:35:36

    NNAMDII'll get to the car break-ins in a while. But McConan, thank you very much for your call. You, too, can call us. We're talking with local crime bloggers. You can call 800-433-8850. Do you follow crime in your neighborhood on a block or -- on a blog or website? Call us at 800-433-8850. Doug, you and your co-editors covered every aspect of the Wone case, including going to the courthouse. How, in your view, are the traditional media, newspapers and television, covering cases like these?

  • 12:36:07

    JOHNSONWell, you know, it's interesting. And, you know, far be it from us to sort of toot our horn, but we -- when we began this, there was almost no attention being paid to the Robert Wone case. It had gone cold. And people generally seem to either forget about it or want to forget about it. We didn't feel that that should happen in this case. And so we began -- well, it has been a two and a half year journey. Not only have we -- did we make the decisions that we would cover every hearing, every status hearing, every moment, if something happened in the courtroom. We would publish and gather the documents.

  • 12:36:42

    JOHNSONBut we also -- because -- I think we all look at this as journalism. I mean, I'm a journalist in my day job. And what we're trying to do is real journalism. So we've also made an effort to reach out to experts around the nation and also obtain information that hasn't even been entered into the public records. So we really just decided to go full-bore on this. And, you know, the time -- I mean, I heard Laura talking about how much time this kind of thing takes -- and by the way, I greatly admire both of my two colleagues here on line today. You know, it's just countless. It's been countless hours. There's no way that any media organization could have put this sort of effort into this one case that we've put into it, let alone, all of the cases that are being followed on Homicide Watch.

  • 12:37:31

    JOHNSONSo, you know, we didn't feel that we were supplanting traditional media. We just felt that we were adding to it. And in a funny way, I think, as it came about -- like we said, you know, a couple of years ago, nobody is gonna care about this case. Nobody is gonna cover it. And then when it came around, there were literally millions of people from around the world logging in to the website. And every day, there were representatives from all of the D.C. media in that courtroom all day long, which was so gratifying to see.

  • 12:38:04

    NNAMDIAs Laura said, every homicide victim deserves that.

  • 12:38:07

    JOHNSONAbsolutely.

  • 12:38:08

    NNAMDIHere is Cindy in Columbia, Md. Cindy, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:38:12

    CINDYHi, everybody. Actually, I am a long time follower of the Wone site, I’m (word?) Maryland. For the guys who are (laugh) on from this site today -- hi, guys.

  • 12:38:24

    JOHNSONNice to talk to you.

  • 12:38:25

    CINDYI just wanna tell you that this is the first time that I've ever followed a crime of this nature. And the reason that I am is because I happened on the site one day in a link from a Washington Post article. And I just wanna say it's a site that, you know, has completely captivated me to the point where I took a day off from work last year and actually went on and sat in the courtroom and wound up standing there with the defendants in this case. And it's just fascinating. And the editors of the site have just done an incredible job. And I just wanted to say that.

  • 12:39:00

    NNAMDIDoug Johnson, how much have you heard that? And to what extent do you feel that people have gotten involved as a result of the website, and that, in a way, has kept this case alive?

  • 12:39:09

    JOHNSONYou know, that such praise is so good to hear. Thank you so much for the comment. And as this has going on and as we all have sort of poured resources and time and effort into this, I think we've all had a moment thinking, can we keep doing this? Do I really wanna keep doing this? And I think one of the things that kept pushing us on, beyond the real passion for finding justice in this case, was exactly that community. This has been such a learning experience. This amazing community of people that have evolved around the website as I'm sure have evolved around Prince of Petworth and will do the same for Homicide Watch. It became a real responsibility, I think, for us to keep going for these thousands of people who are coming together. This became very important to them as well as to us.

  • 12:39:57

    NNAMDILaura, you used to be a reporter, as you said, covering crime in California. As resources get tighter what in your view is happening to crime reporting?

  • 12:40:07

    AMICOI think that we're seeing less and less of it in our daily newspaper and also different types of it. Perhaps we see the blotter increasing, but the in-depth reporting sort of going to the wayside with the exception of, you know, a case every couple of months or perhaps even every couple of weeks that will go more into depth about what has happened. At the same time, we have all these new tools with the social media online, with databases. We can put any document that we're able to get in public record online and make it searchable.

  • 12:40:41

    NNAMDITo what extent is what you're doing now comparable to what you're doing in -- to what you were doing in California?

  • 12:40:49

    AMICOIt's funny because I was at a conference this past week in New York for criminal justice journalists, and realizing just how different the work that I'm doing now is from what I did as a daily newspaper reporter, being online, you're 24/7 and we all know that, but it also means that we're able to tell the stories in different ways. I don't need to file eight or 10 or 12 inches about a homicide. I can post a couple of links or a document or invite people to share comments and get different types of stories that way.

  • 12:41:21

    NNAMDIWe're talking with Laura Norton Amico, author of the Website "i.org." She joins us in studio along with Dan Silverman, author of the "Prince of Petworth" website. We'll be talking to Dan a little bit more about some of the challenges he faces in making decisions. Also joining us by telephone is Doug Johnson, one of the four co-editors for the Who Murdered Robert Wone? website. We're gonna take a short break. If you have already called, stay on line. We will get to your call. If you haven't yet, the number is 800-433-8850. Do you think there should be more crime reporting or less? Do you follow crime in your neighborhood on a blog or a website? 800-433-8850 or you can go to our website kojoshow.org or just send us a tweet @kojoshow. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 12:44:00

    NNAMDIWe're discussing Crime Blogging with Laura Norton Amico, author of the website HomicideWatch.org. Doug Johnson is one of the four co-editors for the Who Murdered Robert Wone? website. And in studio also with us is Dan Silverman, author of the Prince of Petworth website. Dan, do you find yourself sometimes having to balance between getting information out on the one hand and not wanting to alarm people on the other, and how do you strike that balance?

  • 12:44:29

    SILVERMANWell so, everyday I wrestle with that issue. And, you know, the way I balance it is, is this something that's gonna be of interest to the readers. You know, if there's a string of street robberies that take place in a certain area, you know, the people who live around that area wanna sort of have a heads up. However, having said that, you don't wanna scare the bejesus out of the readers either. And sometimes it's hard, I mean, like I said earlier, I read every single MPD police report that goes out. If I took -- if I didn't sort of take a step back, I would never leave my house. (laugh)

  • 12:45:09

    NNAMDII was about to say if you found that people are not always rational when they read about crime because it can taint their view of a particular neighborhood, in this case, yours.

  • 12:45:20

    SILVERMANOh -- not even my neighborhood. Any time I write about a crime issue, there's about a two-week continuation there. And it does not matter what I talk about. If I talk about a restaurant in that particular area, a new bus route, a rental, you name it, the third or fourth or fifth commenter is gonna say, I wouldn't go there in a hundred years. That's a crime-filled cesspool. So it's definitely something I balance.

  • 12:45:50

    NNAMDIThe other thing I've noticed is that it doesn't really matter to people individually whether crime rates go down or up.

  • 12:45:57

    SILVERMANMm-hmm.

  • 12:45:57

    NNAMDIThe notion that crime is always lurking around the corner seems to be prevalent in our heads all the time.

  • 12:46:05

    SILVERMANAbsolutely. I mean, I think one of the problems is that, you know, this isn't something we're talking about like polio, you know, where we gonna solve the crime problem. I don't mean to sound jaded by saying that, but we live in an urban environment and there are probably unfortunately, as painful as it is to say, always gonna deal with certain crime issues.

  • 12:46:25

    NNAMDIHow do you handle petty crime like car break-ins on Prince of Petworth?

  • 12:46:29

    SILVERMANThat's definitely a trend this year. It's something I try to talk about every three, four, six months or so because, you know, I walk around the city all the time miles and miles and miles, and that's absolutely a constant, what they call the shattered glass. I forgot -- there's a name for it, champagne or something like that. When the window is broken, you see the shattered glass on the road.

  • 12:46:50

    NNAMDIYeah.

  • 12:46:52

    SILVERMANAnd so, when I -- either I'll personally see that and I say, well, it's time for another public service announcement, don't leave your bags in the car, or I'll get e-mails. There was recently a number of e-mails sent to me around the Cardoza High School, where cars where broken into. So again, if I get three or four e-mails, I'll post that up, try to remind people.

  • 12:47:12

    NNAMDIAnd how does the Metropolitan Police Department of the District respond at all to those postings? Do they?

  • 12:47:18

    SILVERMANI have to say they are fantastic. They don't...

  • 12:47:22

    NNAMDIWhen you post about car break-ins in a certain area, do they tend to give -- pay more attention?

  • 12:47:27

    SILVERMANI don't think they'll say that officially and they don't, unlike some other D.C. agencies, respond directly to the posts. However, when I contact them directly or when readers contact me and ask me to contact them, they have been very, very good in giving me feedback and which I then convey to the readers. And actually, that's one way that I sometimes balance it is that I just won't post about it, I'll just e-mail the reader directly without making an official post.

  • 12:47:57

    NNAMDIOnto the telephones again. Here's Rose in Washington, D.C. Rose, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:48:02

    ROSEHi. Good to be with you, Kojo. I wanted to call and thank Laura, especially for her good work. I live on Fairmont Street in Columbia Heights. I've lived here for 25 years and have seen the neighborhood go through a lot of changes back and forth as any neighborhood does. I wrote a book last year called "Who Killed Donte Manning?" And it looks at the effects of one murder, in this case, the unsolved death of Donte Manning in Columbia Heights, and the effect of that murder on an entire neighborhood. And I think part of what Laura does with her blog, it allows the story to have some -- the story of one death to have some completion. And that allows for some healing in the neighborhood to take place because that kind of violent crime is such a rupture of relationship that we live with every day in our cities.

  • 12:48:54

    ROSESo part of my question was to ask Laura if she had any follow up on the Ebony Franklin case, which was a murder that happened right before Christmas, also half a block from my house? And then also, how can individuals provide financial support for the great work that these crime reporters are doing?

  • 12:49:12

    NNAMDIFirst you, Laura.

  • 12:49:13

    AMICOThanks, Rose. There is no update, as far as I'm aware, on the Ebony Franklin case, the last I heard. It was Chief Lanier on WTOP who said that she expected that that was a case that would be solved. I haven't had any updates on that in the meantime.

  • 12:49:28

    NNAMDIAnd, Rose, you should know that -- and you probably do already -- that at Laura's website, Homicide Watch, there's a section for memorials. Family and friends can post poems, thoughts, photos and the like. What kind of responses have you been getting to that, Laura?

  • 12:49:44

    AMICOIt's interesting. I'm still working on forming the community around the site. I created that memorial section after I'd seen so many pages on Facebook, legacy.com, where people wanted a sort of interaction. I'm finding that those messages are more often posted on new stories about the cases, that it is something new about the case or the victim or the suspect that prompts people to sort of dig inside and find what they really want to say.

  • 12:50:17

    NNAMDIAnd so you've been getting a good response to that?

  • 12:50:19

    AMICOExcellent response.

  • 12:50:20

    NNAMDIThe other aspect of the question that Rose asked was how can people help with the funding that you need for your websites. Again, first you, Laura, and then we're gonna go around the table and the phone.

  • 12:50:30

    AMICOHomicide Watch, right now, is funded off of my savings. We're looking for media partnerships, ideally, to fund the project. There's a big journalistic value in the project just because of the research that we're doing and the database that we're creating. There are also things that individuals can do, how you can help on the website. We have a couple of fundraising efforts underway there with both PayPal and spot.us, which is a crowd-sourced journalism funding network.

  • 12:50:57

    NNAMDIAnd, of course, you'll find the link to that website at our website, kojoshow.org. Same question to you, Dan Silverman.

  • 12:51:03

    SILVERMANYou can just go to my website and support some of the great advertisers that I have.

  • 12:51:08

    NNAMDIAnd in your case, Doug Johnson?

  • 12:51:10

    JOHNSONWell, we made a decision long ago that we wouldn't earn a dime off of this. It just costs us money. But for those who are interested, we would suggest that they make a contribution to the Robert Wone Memorial Trust, which funds a number of programs, scholarships, that sort of thing. And how -- in terms of how they can help, well, I'll just remind people what Cathy Lanier has said about this case repeatedly, that the Wone murder is a, quote, "very active investigation," and it continues to be so. So how they can help is they can come to us. They can come to us publicly or privately -- and we'll protect their identities -- with anything that they think might be of help.

  • 12:51:48

    NNAMDIAnd, Rose, thank you for your call. We move on to Ellen in Washington, D.C. Ellen, your turn.

  • 12:51:54

    ELLENYes, please. I would like to know if any of your guests know of any blogs or websites where people in the Washington, D.C. area can comment on or report on crimes associated with Metro, crimes in the Metro system.

  • 12:52:12

    NNAMDII know there are websites that deal with Metro. There's Unsuck DC Metro. There's the Greater Greater Washington blog. But I don't know. Dan Silverman, you seem to know more than I do.

  • 12:52:24

    SILVERMANImpossible. I was actually gonna say the same thing. Unsuck DC Metro would probably be a very good opportunity, and that's also something that you could e-mail me about, and I have posted similar stories in the past.

  • 12:52:37

    NNAMDIEllen, what's the nature of your concern? Have you been reading stories about crime on D.C. Metro? There was one very prominent one in -- at -- I guess it was either letter to the editor. I think it was an opinion piece in the "Outlook" section of the Washington Post on Sunday in which the gentleman talked about being beat up on Metro by a group of teenagers and then having the video posted on YouTube for all to see. Is that the nature of your concern?

  • 12:53:03

    ELLENThat, as well as many others. Very specifically, last week, there were four Metro Transit police cars, pulled up next to the plaza, where Eastern Market Metro is. And -- which is quite a showing. And I went downstairs and spoke with the employee in the kiosk and said -- asked why Metro police have been called, and she said she didn't know, which I found a little bit disingenuous. And I would like to find out why they were there.

  • 12:53:38

    NNAMDIWell, Metro has a section on the website under Transit Police Crime Statistics. It's a police blotter. That might be one of the places you wanna check to see what happened.

  • 12:53:47

    ELLENOkay. All right. Thank you very much.

  • 12:53:49

    NNAMDIIt gives the date and time also, so you can look on -- look for it on that basis.

  • 12:53:53

    ELLENThank you very much.

  • 12:53:54

    NNAMDIThank you for your call. On to Todd in Washington, D.C. Todd, your turn.

  • 12:54:00

    TODDYes. Hi. I volunteer with a nonprofit group against hate crimes in Washington, D.C., called Glove (sp?). And we're -- particularly, we track hate crimes as they go through the system. We try and provide some support for victims as well. But I'm wondering if there's anybody particularly paying attention to those in Washington, specifically the Homicide Watch website. Do you track those? Do you have any kind of tracking device for that? We're finding it very difficult to get that information. I'm wondering if you might be having better luck.

  • 12:54:35

    NNAMDIHate crimes. But in your cause, Laura, it would have to be hate crimes that result in homicides.

  • 12:54:39

    AMICOThat's right. We only cover homicides at this point because that's what's manageable for us. Of course, if something was a hate crime that escalated into a homicide, that would, of course, be covered with the appropriate background information.

  • 12:54:51

    NNAMDIDan Silverman, do you get any request on your blog to report on hate crimes or any reports of hate crimes?

  • 12:54:57

    SILVERMANIt's actually very interesting. Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about homophobic graffiti that was written on a car. And, interestingly, many people wrote and commented on it, said, what -- you know, why is this news? So, you know, it's surprising. It's something that -- again, if it seems, you know, a trend or something that's really out of the ordinary, then I just hope somebody will e-mail me about it.

  • 12:55:27

    NNAMDITodd, not that we know of. But, Doug, you were gonna say?

  • 12:55:30

    JOHNSONWell, you know, I suppose -- I'm sure this is a resource that Todd is familiar with. But, you know, we built relationships with a number of -- you know, with a lot of the media in town. And, actually, I found -- because I'm gay myself, so, you know, I'm kind of interested in these things as well. I'm interested in a lot of these things. I've actually found that Metro Weekly, on its website, really does a pretty good job, really trying to track, as much as that they can, all the various incidents of hate crime in town.

  • 12:56:03

    NNAMDIOkay, Todd. So that may be one resource for you. Thank you very much for your call. Dan, of course, the problem is that when people read police blotters for any neighborhood, they're likely to find a whole lot of pretty alarming stuff and it can cause them, like you said, never to want to go out of their front doors.

  • 12:56:19

    SILVERMANAbsolutely.

  • 12:56:19

    NNAMDIYeah, police blotters. Doug, you and your friends who started the Who Murdered Robert Wone site are all in the media. But did you have any idea what kind of commitment it would be to create and edit the site? And how long, do you think, you will be able to continue?

  • 12:56:35

    JOHNSONWe're going to see it through to the end. And the answer is no. I imagine that -- and all of our colleagues would probably say this -- you know, if we had any idea of the sort of time and energy that this project was gonna take, we all might have thought twice about it. And this might be something that Laura can particularly relate to. I don't know that I would even necessarily recommend partnering as an editor with your partner that lends to institutions. But, look, you know, the -- what we have put into it, we have done so willingly. It's really just been a -- it's just been a rare experience and, in some ways, a rare privilege to be able to do this, and to then find the people that have come to us, the readers, and then also just working with, you know, the established organizations, the MPD and others in town. I don't think -- even given all of that, there's no way I personally would trade it for anything.

  • 12:57:34

    NNAMDIWe're almost out of time. But, Laura, there has to be an emotional toll following every homicide in the District of Columbia. How do you handle that?

  • 12:57:42

    AMICOWell, I was just thinking, as Doug was speaking, about how much work goes into the site, but how rewarding it is to hear someone say, I didn't think anybody cared. I didn't think anybody was listening. And these families, on these tragic situations, want someone to pay attention.

  • 12:57:57

    NNAMDIWell, Laura Norton Amico is listening, watching, recording as a reporter. The website is called homicidewatch.org. Laura, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:58:07

    AMICOThank you.

  • 12:58:07

    NNAMDIDan Silverman is the author of the Prince of Petworth website. Dan, as always, a pleasure.

  • 12:58:12

    SILVERMANThank you.

  • 12:58:12

    NNAMDIDoug Johnson is one of the four co-editors for the Who Murdered Robert Wone website. Doug, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:58:18

    JOHNSONIt's been a real treat.

  • 12:58:19

    NNAMDIAnd thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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