Jill Leovy is a journalist and author of “Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America” (Speigel&Grau/Random House 2015), a New York Times bestseller, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and California Book Award winner for nonfiction. Ghettoside explores race and murder in America through immersive reporting in the streets and police squad rooms of South Los Angeles. Its frame-shifting thesis – the “Ghettoside thesis” cited by scholars – seeks explanations for high rates of crime in inadequate legal development rather than social pathology.
Leovy has also worked for two decades as a reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times, covering education, business and environmental beats as well as crime and policing. She created and produced an online multimedia project, ‘The Homicide Report,’ on latimes.com and, as part of this nationally recognized effort she reported on more than 800 murders in Los Angeles County in a single year, 2007. The Homicide Report was was the subject of coverage by NPR’s All Things Considered, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and others, and was emulated by newspapers elsewhere in the country.
Leovy also served briefly as a national correspondent writing dispatches from Ground Zero after Sept. 11, 2001, as a foreign correspondent in Mexico from Mexico City in 2001, and as a higher education reporter, producing stories on inequities in college financial aid that prompted legislative reforms. Her work also has appeared in the The American Scholar, the Wall Street Journal, the (London) Telegraph, Slate, The Marshall Project and the academic book “Post-Ghetto: Reimagining South Los Angeles” (UC/Huntington Library Press, 2012).
She has a history degree from the University of Washington and previously worked at The Seattle Times and the News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.). She lives in Los Angeles.