Too Young to Die: Documenting Chicago's Homicide Epidemic

Chicago now leads the nation in homicides, and though police and community members have made concerted efforts to curb the violence, it shows no signs of slowing down. Young men are the most susceptible group. Last year, 243 people under the age of 25 were killed in the windy city. Most of them were murdered by their peers.

The Chicago Reporter has been following this trend closely in a series on youth violence, which features Carlos Javier Ortiz’s photography project “Too Young to Die: Examining the Loss of a Generation." Ortiz is a member of the independent journalism collective Facing Change Documenting America, where his five years of work on the issue is featured. Ortiz says he hopes his work will “shake a country’s conscience.” The Chicago Reporter series also includes interactive homicide maps from RedEye, which aggregates and tracks murders throughout the city.

Jim MacMillan, a 2007 Dart Center Ochberg Fellow, has been working to draw attention to another city’s murder epidemic through the Gun Crisis Reporting Project, an open source journalism project that strives to diminish gun violence in Philadelphia.

In 2011, the Dart Center hosted a two-day workshop entitled “Getting it Right: Reporting on Youth Violence” to help journalists and news organizations cover violence among young people. Video, tip sheets and other resources from the workshop are available on our site.