"Muckraking journalism" refers to in-depth investigative journalism that has an impact and confronts societal issues. The term was coined by newspaperman William Allen White in 1909 when he wrote: "Modern muckrakers are those newspaper men who investigate public officials and their methods, expose waste and corruption, and make known the needs of ordinary people where they differ from those of the powerful."
Muckraking journalists often take on causes beyond their own financial interest, such as exposing government corruption or seeking equal rights for women. Often, they will go beyond just reporting news to include publishing photographs, cartoons, and other forms of media.
Often, these journalists will go into dangerous situations to get the story. They may trespass on private property or break laws in order to obtain information. Some jurisdictions may even prosecute them for journalistic misconduct instead of actual crimes.
There have been many great muckraking journalists over the years including Lincoln Steffens, George Seldes, Muckraker Magazine's current editor in chief Christopher O'Neil, and myself.
Muckraking is a great American tradition that continues today in publications across the country.
Muckraking journalists do not go too far in their pursuit of their stories since they are utilizing their positions to expose the flaws of the government, big business, and society; this is helpful to the American people. Muckrakers write about what they know and expose it since that is what journalism is all about.
Muckraking was first used in print by journalist Lincoln Steffens who wrote under several names including Mark Sullivan. He used the term to describe his own work during an interview with historian John Brooks in 1975. Sullivan said that he had begun to use the term because "he wanted to catch the attention of publishers who were not already considering him one".
Sullivan's work as a muckraker brought light to abuses by corporations in St. Louis, Missouri. He exposed poor labor practices, contaminated water sources, and other harmful conditions at companies such as Monsanto and Anheuser-Busch. After leaving St. Louis for New York City, he continued to write about these issues, which led to more journalistic assignments from newspapers across the country. In 1905, he founded the magazine World's Work, which published articles by him along with other prominent writers such as E.W. Scripps and William Allen White.
In 1907, Sullivan became involved in the Mississippi River flood controversy when he reported on the effects of deforestation on flooding.
It's more like traditional journalism. Being honest and truthful is more enticing to the reader than yellow journalism. A "muckraker" is a journalist who attempts to expose commercial or government wrongdoing to the public. It was a journalist from the progressive movement. During the rise of mass media in the 20th century, journalists such as Ibsen, Shaw, and Bennett sought to expose wrongdoings to the public with the help of new technologies.
Muckraking and yellow journalism are forms of publicity based more on sensationalism than on fact-finding reporting. This type of reporting tends to focus on crime and punishment, human interest stories, and political corruption. Sometimes true facts are hidden under the guise of fiction or opinion. Opinion pieces may be written by practicing journalists but they do not carry the weight of fact since there is no verification that what is being said is actually true. Fact-checking organizations such as Snopes, AP, and The New York Times are available to readers who want to learn more about the truth behind popular opinions.
In the early 20th century, journalists such as Lincoln Steffens and Jacob Riis exposed abuses within the American police and legal systems respectively. They used their positions as reporters to gather information from many different sources and then write about their findings. Their efforts led to many changes including better training for law enforcement officers and children's rights groups.
Muckraking journalism was prevalent, urgent, and important between 1903 and 1906. The "interests" (what we call "special interests" now) posed a threat to the commonwealth; the press fought the interests.
According to the Huffington Post, some of today's muckrakers include Paul Krugman, Jacob Hacker, Paul Pierson, and Gretchen Morgenson. These authors write about social, political, and economic reform. They do not, however, have the same level of popularity as the original muckrakers.
Similarly to how muckrakers became well-known for their crusades, journalists from the eras of "personal journalism" and "yellow journalism" rose to prominence through investigative stories, especially those that revealed wrongdoing. It's worth noting that the goal of Yellow Journalism was to enrage the people with sensationalism in order to sell more papers. Thus, it's accurate to say that this type of journalism brought about anger among the public because of its deceitful nature.
Muckraking is a term used to describe efforts by individuals or groups to expose corruption or other objectionable practices by making information available to the public. The term was first used to describe investigations conducted by American journalists who exposed unsafe working conditions in factories, food contamination, bribery by officials, and other issues important to the public interest but which were not being addressed properly by existing media outlets.
The muckraking style of journalism was popular from the 1890s to the 1920s. Its practitioners included such names as Lincoln Steffens, George R. Stewart, and Upton Sinclair. They often wrote articles, books, and even movies about their findings, helping the public understand what was going on in their world.
This piece served as a summary of the work of several prominent muckrakers including Lincoln Steffens, who had died earlier that year.