Blog puts focus on the victims, neighborhoods behind New Haven’s murder rate

New Haven Register cops reporter Bill Kaempffer has had his hands full over the past year keeping up with an explosion of violence that came close to setting a New Haven record for murders.

But a lot can get lost amid the near-weekly front page stories about the latest murder.

That’s why Kaempffer turned to a blogging platform to provide more context and tell the stories of the families behind the crime rate. He was assisted by Chris March in coming up with the template and design for “New Haven Homicides Report.”

To put the murder trend in geographic perspective, Kaempffer uses Google Maps to plot where each murder took place, and blogging tags so that you can read about all of the murder cases that have happened in an individual city neighborhood.

Kaempffer also uses the blog to spotlight every single murder victim, personalizing the human beings behind the numbers, and keeps each updated with a status of the case, including whether an arrest has been made, and if so, where prosecution of the suspect is in the court process.

Kaempffer’s “New Haven Homicides Report” is an homage to “Homicide Watch D.C.,” which was launched by a journalist dismayed that big-city murders were getting barely a paragraph mention in large city newspapers such as the Washington Post.

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About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter, editor, publisher and corporate editorial director and has been recognized nationally for leading newsroom innovation. He teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University, writes a monthly column for Editor & Publisher magazine, and serves as interim executive director of LION Publishers, a national network of local independent online news site publishers. Previously, he served as group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen and Connecticut Magazine, and Northeast regional editor for Digital First Media. He also served as publisher of The Register Citizen, Middletown Press and a group of weeklies in Northwest Connecticut, and before that was corporate director of news for small dailies and non-daily publications for the former Journal Register Company. In early 2011, The Register Citizen was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine's "10 Newspapers That Do It Right," and DeRienzo was named to its annual "25 Under 35" list of leaders in the newspaper industry. In the fall of 2011, The Register Citizen was awarded the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe, an "open newsroom" launched in Torrington, Connecticut, in December 2010. He led a team of more than 100 journalists in covering the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012 and 2013, and has been honored for his editorial writing and leadership of public service and investigative reporting. In 2014, his efforts at the New Haven Register were recognized with the APME's and ASNE's Robert C. McGruder Award for Leadership in Newsroom Diversity. DeRienzo is a former longtime board member of the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and served as co-chairman of the United Way's annual fundraising campaign in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2011, he received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award.
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