"The why is what makes journalism an adult game. The why is what makes policy coherent and useful. The why is what transforms bureaucrats and foot soldiers and political leaders into viable instruments of rational and affirmative change. The why is everything and without it, the very suggestion of human progress becomes a cosmic joke."
David Simon is a Baltimore-based
author, journalist and writer-producer of television specializing in criminal justice and urban issues. Born in Washington in 1960, he came north to Baltimore after graduating from the University of Maryland to work as a police reporter at the Baltimore Sun
. In 1988, after four years on the crime beat, he took a leave of absence from the newspaper to write "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets."
Published in 1991, the Edgar-award winning account of a year inside the Baltimore Police Department Homicide Unit became the basis for NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street
, which was broadcast from 1993 to 1999. Simon worked as a writer, and later as a producer on the award-winning drama.
In 1993, Simon took a second leave from the Baltimore Sun
to research and write, "The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood." Published in 1997 and co-authored with Edward Burns, the true account of life in a West Baltimore community dominated by an open-air drug market was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times
Simon then co-wrote and produced The Corner
as a six-hour miniseries for HBO
. That production, which aired in 2000, won an Emmy as the year's best miniseries. Simon and David Mills also won the Emmy for best writing in a movie or miniseries. For his writing on Homicide
, Simon has won the WGA Award for best writing in an episodic drama, as well as the Humanitas Award in the same category.
Having left the Baltimore Sun
in 1995, Simon continues to work as a freelance journalist and author, writing for publications as varied as The Washington Post, The New Republic
In 2002, he created The Wire
, a simultaneous love-letter and hateful screed to Baltimore, broadcast on HBO for five seasons. The show didn't have high ratings, but it was cited by many critics as one of the best television series ever. He followed this up with Generation Kill
, which follows a group of US Recon Marines in Iraq in 2003.
Yet another show, Treme
, set in the eponymous neighborhood of New Orleans
and focusing on the community of musicians who live there (and presumably how they keep going after Hurricane Katrina), started airing on HBO in 2010. His experience on the show caused him to amend his will to request a second line funeral, which he says will likely be the only one his chosen cemetery ever sees. His followup miniseries Show Me a Hero
based on the true story of the trials and tribulations Yonkers, New York goes through trying to implement a low-income housing project has recently been announced.
He has a blog
- Show Me a Hero (creator/producer/writer, TBA)
- Treme (creator/producer/writer, 2010-2013)
- Generation Kill (creator/producer/writer, 2008)
- The Wire (creator/producer/writer, 2002-2008)
- The Corner (creator/producer/writer, 2000)
- Homicide: Life on the Street (producer/writer, 1993-1999)