No crime arouses as much passion and misinformation as homicide.
But what has been lacking has been accurate information beyond the headline numbers to shape that national conversation and to help devise public policies to effectively tackle this national plague.
D.C. Witness is a website founded in 2015 to provide just that information, tracking every homicide from act to judicial resolution and in the process informing the residents and policy makers of the District of Columbia about the trail of murders that often go underreported.
We cover every single murder, with neither bias nor favor. We do this by providing internships to students interested in journalism, law enforcement and the legal system, putting them in the court rooms to accurately record every step in the judicial process, giving them professional experience from which to launch their careers.
In the process not only do they shine light on ignored stories but are also building a deep database of the type of information that is collected by no other organization. We then turn the data over to policy makers and political authorities who can put it to the best use.
Without D.C. Witness, public officials can tout inaccurate statistics or misleading closure rates for homicides. Without D.C. Witness, parents who do not understand the legal system or know how to find out about a family member’s court case would not have a way to have their questions answered. Without D.C. Witness, the perception of our city’s homicides would remain defined by innuendo and alternative facts.
Please help us keep the conversation accurate so we can actually take actions to rid our city of this plague.
We are seeking grants, in-kind services, donations and partnerships to create a sustainable nonprofit to serve the public in D.C. All donations are tax deductible. For questions regarding donations or sponsorships, please contact Publisher Amos Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To inquire about interning for D.C. Witness, or questions about articles and coverage, please contact the editor, Jennifer Swift, at email@example.com.
This Spring, D.C. Witness is sustained by efforts of interns Thamar Bailey, Madison Colletto and Merdie Nzanga.
Jennifer Swift, Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder
Jennifer Swift is a multimedia journalist who has produced stories on politics, education and
criminal justice. Before moving to the nation’s capital to start Capitol Justice, Swift worked for Digital First Media’s New Haven Register and Connecticut Magazine.
In 2014, Swift created Divided Connecticut, a website produced in collaboration with the New Haven Register and Connecticut Magazine, to cover policy issues that underscored the governor’s race.
Prior to covering state politics, she covered New Haven City Hall and schools, and her reporting followed the aftermath of allegations of civil rights violations by the East Haven Police Department and uncovered more allegations of abuse.
Swift is also a 2016 John Jay College of Criminal Justice Juvenile Justice fellow, and a 2014 New England First Amendment Institute fellow.
Spring 2017 Interns
Thamar Bailey is a junior at Quinnipiac University, where she is studying journalism and minoring in Spanish and political science. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism focusing on social justice.
Merdie Nzanga is a junior at Howard University where she is studying journalism with a minor in political science. She is from Seattle, and hopes to become a news reporter.
Board of Directors
Publisher, and Chair (ex-officio)
Amos Gelb is the founder and Director of the Washington Media Institute. Professor Gelb produced virtually every type of television news programming during a two-decade broadcast journalism career, from daily news and multi-hour documentaries to undercover investigations to talk shows.Before establishing the Washington Media Institute, he was the director of academics for the American University’s Washington Semester and then was recruited by The George Washington University to design, manage and teach its Semester in Washington Journalism program, which became the first experiential media program to win an Emmy Award for student production. He also currently serves as an Associate Professor and the Director of Broadcast for Northwestern University’s Medill Graduate School of Journalism DC program.
Krishna Roy has worked in the nonprofit sector for 25 years as a consultant and in senior management positions specializing in development, marketing, event planning, and public relations. She was the Senior Director of Communications and Marketing for the Wolf Trap Foundation, and the Center for Marine Conservation’s Vice President for Communications and Marketing. Other assignments include The Nature Conservancy, New York University, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. In addition to raising more than $60 million for various causes, she has been instrumental in developing groundbreaking environmental media and marketing campaigns involving public-private partnerships with Discovery Communications, Black Entertainment Television (BET), Telemundo, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Exxon, Arm and Hammer, Chevrolet, among others. Her experience includes directing communications activities for large institutions, including program design, media relations, publications, placements, and branding. In 1984, Krishna worked on the Oscar nominated film The Garden of Eden, and won a Telly in for co-producing the documentary “Killing our Oceans.” Krishna was a principal in designing and launching “Save the Tiger Fund,” an international grant making and awareness campaign, to protect tigers in the wild.
Jim Brady is the founder and CEO of Spirited Media, the mobile-focused local news startup that owns and operates BillyPenn. Jim has spent almost 20 years in digital news, working in both digital-only and legacy operations, and has the gray, thinning hairline to prove it. He came to the digital world in April 1995 as sports editor of Digital Ink, the Washington Post’s first new media effort. He was on the core team that launched washingtonpost.com in June 1996 and has been a sucker for all things digital ever since. Along the way, Jim has served as executive editor of washingtonpost.com, general manager of the now-deceased TBD.com, editor-in-chief of Digital First Media and in various executive roles at America Online. Jim is also a Past President of the Online News Association, where he’s been a board member since 2005. He also serves on the boards of the American Society of News Editors and the National Press Foundation, on the National Advisory Board of the Poynter Institute and on the advisory boards of GlobalPost, Kaiser Health News, The American University School of Communication and the Fiscal Times.
Former D.C. Witness Interns
Madison Dudley is a junior at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN. She is double majoring in communications and global studies with a minor in studio art.
Marie Zimmerman is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder where she is studying Political Science. She plans to pursue a law degree post-undergrad.
Jesse Hughes is a broadcast production student entering his senior year at the University of Colorado Boulder. Hughes is from from Philadelphia, and practices boxing and martial arts in his spare time.
Brian Strack is a sophomore at St. Norbert College, where he is studying communications, with a concentration in media studies. He is from Oak Creek, Wisc., and intends on pursuing a career in journalism.
Kimberly Jahns of Appleton, Wisconsin will begin her senior year at St. Norbert College in the fall. Jahns is studying communications and media studies.
Madeleine Kimble is from from Westport, Conn. She is a senior at the University of Michigan studying communications and Chinese language and culture.