The Web site chicagocrime.org, described as “an innovative overlay of the city's reported crimes with Google’s online mapping technology,” this week won the $10,000 Grand Prize in the Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. The site, created as a free public service by online journalist Adrian Holovaty with design input by Wilson Miner, was credited with “setting a new standard for interactive journalism.”
Chicagocrime.org allows users to search by the type of crime, the street and neighborhood, or the date and pinpoint the location on a satellite map. One can track crimes that occur en route to work. “It is one journalist’s ability to see all the pieces and put them together,” the Batten judges said, “but every city should provide this as a public service.” The award winner was selected from 65 entries, submitted by print, television, radio, and online news organizations as well as educational and non-profit institutions. The award spotlights the creative use of new information ideas and technologies to involve citizens in public issues. It is administered by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland and is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The award is named for the late James K. Batten, former CEO of Knight Ridder and a pioneer in exploring ways journalism could better connect with audiences.