Billy Jensen is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Chase Darkness with Me: How One True Crime Writer Started Solving Murders. His crime stories have been featured in Rolling Stone, Boston Magazine, the Miami New Times, and many other publications. Mr. Jensen was a senior producer and investigator on Crime Watch Daily, a show produced by Warner Brothers. He co-hosts Unraveled on Discovery+.
Billy attended the University of Kansas where he helped establish and then played for, the hockey team. He graduated with a master’s degree before moving home to help his ailing father run the family business.
What happened with Billy Jensen?
When Billy Jensen got his first writing assignment at the Long Island Voice, he asked his editor what name he should go by—Billy, or the more adult-sounded Bill. Editor John Mancini picked Bill, and Jensen went by Bill Jensen professionally until 2015. When he learned of Crime Watch Daily, a syndicated TV show coming out from Warner Bros. in 2015, Jensen reached out to Executive Producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey over Facebook, where his name is Billy Jensen, which he was known by in high school. In internal meetings, producers called him Billy. When he was given his first assignment for the TV show, he asked the producers which name he should go by, Bill or Billy. Producer Scott Eldridge chose Billy, and Jensen used Billy Jensen for his TV career.
Tell us how you started in investigative journalism.
It all started with a zine I created for the New York Islanders that was picked up by an editor from the Village Voice. He offered me my first ever single story issue and I ran with the opportunity and never looked back.
What circumstances led you to become an investigator?
In my former days, I co-created a newspaper called the Long Island Press, where I wrote and published stories in the crime column. After years of writing stories with no end, there came a point where I couldn’t sit and wait for the mystery to be solved, I needed to go out and find the missing and help bring healing and closure to the family.
What brought you to the field of journalism?
Between shuffling my passion for sports, entertainment, and crime stories, I kept pitching my writing and inevitably landed my first cover story in 1997. Since then, I have been reporting for the New York Times on the weekends, working on uncovering the next unsolved crime.