Old trick wows new medium

murder.jpg 

Print editors used to say: if it bleeds it leads. Does the same hold true in cyberspace? So it would seem judging from the attention and popularity being focused on Los Angeles Times reporter Jill Leovy’s new blog The Homicide Report. 

As Poynter Institute media watcher Amy Gahran writes:

“The blog’s premise is simple but compelling: Leovy covers every murder reported in Los Angeles County — where nearly 1100 homicides occur yearly . . . Most homicides are covered in just a paragraph.”

Leovy breaks the monotony with edgy feature stories about the nuances of mayhem. When I visited she began one piece:

“Are Black-vs.-Brown Racial Tensions Driving Homicide in L.A.? No. We may aspire to integration. But our homicides remain segregated: Overwhelmingly, homicides in Los Angeles are committed between suspects and victims of the same race, and the few killings that cross racial lines are rarely race-motivated.” 

The homicide blog is even winning over some LA Times critics.

Patterico is a prosecutor and blogger who likes to sharpen his claws on the Los Angeles Dog Trainer (aka Times), and even he rants about The Homicide Report:

“It’s a great idea. I often feel that parts of the city are a war zone, and that the murders that take place don’t get the coverage that they deserve from the local paper. The answer is always that there isn’t enough space — but with the Internet, there is always more space. Leovy is taking advantage of this important strength of the Internet, and I salute her for it. “ 

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Radios of the world, unite? My wife passed me on this note about The Activist Radio Network. A project of the People’s Email Network, it asks:

“How would you like to have your own radio show?  . . . We are interested in any and all of your own recordings of a progressive nature, commentary, interviews, music, comedy, whatever you are inspired to produce that you think will inspire others to speak out on the issues.”

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Hearst Interactive Media has invested $8 million in Local.com as I learned from Paid Content. I had not previously visited Local.com, which has a very clean, Google-like user interface. It is also publicly-traded (ticker: LOCM). Here is a snippet from Local.com’s Yahoo profile:

“The company was founded in 1999 as eWorld Commerce Corporation and changed its name to eLiberation.com Corporation in August 1999, then to Interchange Corporation in 2003. The company further changed its name to Local.com Corp. in November 2006. The company is headquartered in Irvine, California.”

The press release announcing the deal quoted Hearst Interactive Media president Kenneth Bronfin: “Local.com is well positioned to capitalize on the consumer and advertiser trends that are delivering growth in the emerging local search advertising industry.”

(Note: I work for the Hearst-owned San Francisco Chronicle.)