Crime Reporting Case Study: Online Investigation Scripps Howard “Murder Mysteries”


Scripps Howard News Service (SHNS), based in Washington, D.C., which serves 14 daily newspapers and nine television stations owned by its media chain, decided to take a fresh look at murder in America, particularly the growing percentage of killings that go unsolved and the possibility that law enforcement authorities are overlooking serial killers. The result was a powerful series of stories that appeared on its website between May 23 and November 26, 2010.

Led by reporter Thomas Hargrove, Scripps Howard built a database of 525,000 homicides around the U.S. over the 29 years between 1980 and 2008. Working with the database, Hargrove was able to pinpoint previously unacknowledged serial murder cases around the U.S.

Hargrove explained how he did it, and how other journalists can use the data, to Ted Gest, president of Criminal Justice Journalists and contributing editor of The Crime Report.

Read the full case study HERE.

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