The Rise of the Crime Beat ‘News Nerds’

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Criminal justice journalism is suddenly awash in data reporting. The crime beat—sometimes accused of being hidebound—is beginning to catch up with a profound quantitative turn in the news business.

Police, court and prison reporters are increasingly heeding the journalism-school trope to “follow the numbers.” Examples are abundant, from legacy newspapers to niche digital outlets to advocacy-minded hybrids.

The trend may not make visits to crime scenes and courtrooms obsolete, but data has become a foundational . . .

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