Folks, here’s more on how Homicide Watch DC used search analytics as a reporting tool:
Online Investigative journalism: more on reporting through analytics: what we did, including the search terms that led us to identify a homicide victim.
Reporting from analytics works because it brings crime reporting back to its investigative roots. It’s shoe leather reporting, happening online. But it works because it’s even more than that.
As the scope of crime reporting has diminished, so too, has the scope of voices included in the reporting. Which is why it’s worth remembering that reporting from analytics is really nothing more than listening to how people are talking about the beat. When I look at my analytics I learn the words people are using to discuss homicides. I learn what information they have, and what information they’re looking for. I learn what the gaps are between what I know, what the police know, and what my audience knows.