The term muckraker was used in the Progressive Era to characterize reform-minded American journalists who attacked established institutions and leaders as corrupt. They typically had large audiences in some popular magazines. In the US, the modern term is investigative journalism—it has different and more pejorative connotations in British English—and investigative journalists in the US today are often informally called "muckrakers".

The muckrakers played a highly visible role during the Progressive Era period, 1890s–1920s.[1] Muckraking magazines—notably McClure's of the publisher S. S. McClure—took on corporate monopolies and political machines while trying to raise public awareness and anger at urban poverty, unsafe working conditions, prostitution, and child labor.[2] Most of the muckrakers wrote nonfiction, but fictional exposes often had a major impact as well, such as those by Upton Sinclair.[3]

In contemporary American use, the term describes either a journalist who writes in the adversarial or alternative tradition, or a non-journalist whose purpose in publication is to advocate reform and change.[4] Investigative journalists view the muckrakers as early influences and a continuation of watchdog journalism. In British English the term muckraker is more likely to mean a journalist (often on a tabloid newspaper) who specialises in scandal and malicious gossip about celebrities or well-known personalities and is generally used in a derogatory sense.

The term is a reference to a character in John Bunyan's classic Pilgrim's Progress, "the Man with the Muck-rake", who rejected salvation to focus on filth. It became popular after President Theodore Roosevelt referred to the character in a 1906 speech; Roosevelt acknowledged that "the men with the muck rakes are often indispensable to the well being of society; but only if they know when to stop raking the muck..."

McClure's (cover, January 1901) published many early muckraker articles.


While a literature of reform had already appeared by the mid-19th century, the kind of reporting that would come to be called "muckraking" began to appear around 1900.[5] By the 1900s, magazines such as Collier's Weekly, Munsey's Magazine and McClure's Magazine were already in wide circulation and read avidly by the growing middle class.[6][7] The January 1903 issue of McClure's is considered to be the official beginning of muckraking journalism,[8] although the muckrakers would get their label later. Ida M. Tarbell ("The History of Standard Oil"), Lincoln Steffens ("The Shame of Minneapolis") and Ray Stannard Baker ("The Right to Work"), simultaneously published famous works in that single issue. Claude H. Wetmore and Lincoln Steffens' previous article "Tweed Days in St. Louis" in McClure's October 1902 issue was called the first muckraking article.

Changes in journalism prior to 1903

The muckrakers would become known for their investigative journalism, evolving from the eras of "personal journalism"—a term historians Emery and Emery used in The Press and America (6th ed.) to describe the 19th century newspapers that were steered by strong leaders with an editorial voice (p. 173)—and yellow journalism.

One of the biggest urban scandals of the post-Civil War era was the corruption and bribery case of Tammany boss William M. Tweed in 1871 that was uncovered by newspapers. In his first muckraking article "Tweed Days in St. Louis", Lincoln Steffens exposed the graft, a system of political corruption, that was ingrained in St. Louis. While some muckrakers had already worked for reform newspapers of the personal journalism variety, such as Steffens who was a reporter for the New York Evening Post under Edwin Lawrence Godkin,[9] other muckrakers had worked for yellow journals before moving on to magazines around 1900, such as Charles Edward Russell who was a journalist and editor of Joseph Pulitzer's New York World.[10] Publishers of yellow journals, such as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, were more intent on increasing circulation through scandal, crime, entertainment and sensationalism.[11]

Just as the muckrakers became well known for their crusades, journalists from the eras of "personal journalism" and "yellow journalism" had gained fame through their investigative articles, including articles that exposed wrongdoing. Note that in yellow journalism, the idea was to stir up the public with sensationalism, and thus sell more papers. If, in the process, a social wrong was exposed that the average man could get indignant about, that was fine, but it was not the intent (to correct social wrongs) as it was with true investigative journalists and muckrakers.

Julius Chambers of the New York Tribune, could be considered to be the original muckraker. Chambers undertook a journalistic investigation of Bloomingdale Asylum in 1872, having himself committed with the help of some of his friends and his newspaper's city editor. His intent was to obtain information about alleged abuse of inmates. When articles and accounts of the experience were published in the Tribune, it led to the release of twelve patients who were not mentally ill, a reorganization of the staff and administration of the institution and, eventually, to a change in the lunacy laws.[12] This later led to the publication of the book A Mad World and Its Inhabitants (1876). From this time onward, Chambers was frequently invited to speak on the rights of the mentally ill and the need for proper facilities for their accommodation, care and treatment.[13]

Nellie Bly, another yellow journalist, used the undercover technique of investigation in reporting Ten Days in a Mad-House, her 1887 exposé on patient abuse at Bellevue Mental Hospital, first published as a series of articles in The World newspaper and then as a book.[14] Nellie would go on to write more articles on corrupt politicians, sweat-shop working conditions and other societal injustices.

Other works that predate the muckrakers

  • Helen Hunt Jackson (1831–1885) –A Century of Dishonor, U.S. policy regarding Native Americans.
  • Henry Demarest Lloyd (1847–1903) – Wealth Against Commonwealth, exposed the corruption within the Standard Oil Company.
  • Ida B. Wells (1862–1931) – an author of a series of articles concerning Jim Crow laws and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in 1884, and co-owned the newspaper The Free Speech in Memphis in which she began an anti-lynching campaign.
  • Ambrose Bierce (1842–1913(?)) – author of a long-running series of articles published from 1883 through 1896 in The Wasp and the San Francisco Examiner attacking the Big Four and the Central Pacific Railroad for political corruption.
  • B. O. Flower (1858-1918) - author of articles in The Arena from 1889 through 1909 advocating for prison reform and prohibition of alcohol.

The muckrakers appeared at a moment when journalism was undergoing changes in style and practice. In response to yellow journalism, which had exaggerated facts, objective journalism, as exemplified by The New York Times under Adolph Ochs after 1896, turned away from sensationalism and reported facts with the intention of being impartial and a newspaper of record.[15] The growth of wire services had also contributed to the spread of the objective reporting style. Muckraking publishers like Samuel S. McClure, also emphasized factual reporting,[16] but he also wanted what historian Michael Schudson had identified as one of the preferred qualities of journalism at the time, namely, the mixture of "reliability and sparkle" to interest a mass audience.[17] In contrast with objective reporting, the journalists, whom Roosevelt dubbed "muckrakers", saw themselves primarily as reformers and were politically engaged.[18] Journalists of the previous eras were not linked to a single political, populist movement as the muckrakers were associated with Progressive reforms. While the muckrakers continued the investigative exposures and sensational traditions of yellow journalism, they wrote to change society. Their work reached a mass audience as circulation figures of the magazines rose on account of visibility and public interest.


W.T. Stead 19th Precinct 1st Ward Chicago 1894 Cornell CUL PJM 1115 01
A map from 1894 by W. T. Stead, pioneer journalist of the “new journalism”, which paved the way for the modern tabloid.

Magazines were the leading outlets for muckraking journalism. Samuel S. McClure and John Sanborn Phillips started McClure's Magazine in May 1893. McClure led the magazine industry by cutting the price of an issue to 15 cents, attracting advertisers, giving audiences illustrations and well-written content and then raising ad rates after increased sales, with Munsey's and Cosmopolitan following suit.[19]

McClure sought out and hired talented writers, like the then unknown Ida M. Tarbell or the seasoned journalist and editor Lincoln Steffens. The magazine's pool of writers were associated with the muckraker movement, such as Ray Stannard Baker, Burton J. Hendrick, George Kennan (explorer), John Moody (financial analyst), Henry Reuterdahl, George Kibbe Turner, and Judson C. Welliver, and their names adorned the front covers. The other magazines associated with muckraking journalism were American Magazine (Lincoln Steffens), Arena (G. W. Galvin and John Moody), Collier's Weekly (Samuel Hopkins Adams, C.P. Connolly, L. R. Glavis, Will Irwin, J. M. Oskison, Upton Sinclair), Cosmopolitan (Josiah Flynt, Alfred Henry Lewis, Jack London, Charles P. Norcross, Charles Edward Russell), Everybody's Magazine (William Hard, Thomas William Lawson, Benjamin B. Lindsey, Frank Norris, David Graham Phillips, Charles Edward Russell, Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, Merrill A. Teague, Bessie and Marie Van Vorst), Hampton's (Rheta Childe Dorr, Benjamin B. Hampton, John L. Mathews, Charles Edward Russell, and Judson C. Welliver), The Independent (George Walbridge Perkins, Sr.), Outlook (William Hard), Pearson's Magazine (Alfred Henry Lewis, Charles Edward Russell), Twentieth Century (George French), and World's Work (C.M. Keys and Q.P.).[20] Other titles of interest include Chatauquan, Dial, St. Nicholas. In addition, Theodore Roosevelt wrote for Scribner's Magazine after leaving office.

Origin of the term, Theodore Roosevelt

Pilgrim's Progress first edition 1678
Pilgrim's Progress, a first edition

After President Theodore Roosevelt took office in 1901, he began to manage the press corps. To do so, he elevated his press secretary to cabinet status and initiated press conferences. The muckraking journalists who emerged around 1900, like Lincoln Steffens, were not as easy for Roosevelt to manage as the objective journalists, and the President gave Steffens access to the White House and interviews to steer stories his way.[21][22]

Roosevelt used the press very effectively to promote discussion and support for his Square Deal policies among his base in the middle-class electorate. When journalists went after different topics, he complained about their wallowing in the mud.[23] In a speech on April 14, 1906 on the occasion of dedicating the House of Representatives office building, he drew on a character from John Bunyan's 1678 classic, Pilgrim's Progress, saying: may recall the description of the Man with the Muck-rake, the man who could look no way but downward with the muck-rake in his hands; who was offered a celestial crown for his muck-rake, but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.[24]

While cautioning about possible pitfalls of keeping one's attention ever trained downward, "on the muck", Roosevelt emphasized the social benefit of investigative muckraking reporting, saying:

There are, in the body politic, economic and social, many and grave evils, and there is urgent necessity for the sternest war upon them. There should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil man whether politician or business man, every evil practice, whether in politics, in business, or in social life. I hail as a benefactor every writer or speaker, every man who, on the platform, or in book, magazine, or newspaper, with merciless severity makes such attack, provided always that he in his turn remembers that the attack is of use only if it is absolutely truthful.

Most of these journalists detested being called muckrakers. They felt betrayed that Roosevelt would coin them with such a term after they had helped him with his election. Muckraker David Graham Philips believed that the tag of muckraker brought about the end of the movement as it was easier to group and attack the journalists.[25]

The term eventually came to be used in reference to investigative journalists who reported about and exposed such issues as crime, fraud, waste, public health and safety, graft, illegal financial practices. A muckraker's reporting may span businesses and government.

Early 20th century muckraking

Some of the key documents that came to define the work of the muckrakers were:

Ray Stannard Baker published "The Right to Work" in McClure's Magazine in 1903, about coal mine conditions, a coal strike, and the situation of non-striking workers (or scabs). Many of the non-striking workers had no special training or knowledge in mining, since they were simply farmers looking for work. His investigative work portrayed the dangerous conditions in which these people worked in the mines, and the dangers they faced from union members who did not want them to work.

Lincoln Steffens published "Tweed Days in St. Louis", in which he profiled corrupt leaders in St. Louis, in October 1902, in McClure's Magazine.[26] The prominence of the article helped lawyer Joseph Folk to lead an investigation of the corrupt political ring in St. Louis.

Ida Tarbell published The Rise of the Standard Oil Company in 1902, providing insight into the manipulation of trusts. One trust they manipulated was with Christopher Dunn Co. She followed that work with The History of The Standard Oil Company: the Oil War of 1872, which appeared in McClure's Magazine in 1908. She condemned Rockefeller's immoral and ruthless business tactics and emphasized “our national life is on every side distinctly poorer, uglier, meaner, for the kind of influence he exercises.” Her book generated enough public anger that it led to the splitting up of Standard Oil under the Sherman Anti Trust Act.[27]

Upton Sinclair published The Jungle in 1906, which revealed conditions in the meat packing industry in the United States and was a major factor in the establishment of the Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act.[28] Sinclair wrote the book with the intent of addressing unsafe working conditions in that industry, not food safety.[28] Sinclair was not a professional journalist but his story was first serialized before being published in book form. Sinclair considered himself to be a muckraker.

"The Treason of the Senate: Aldrich, the Head of it All", by David Graham Phillips, published as a series of articles in Cosmopolitan magazine in February 1906, described corruption in the U.S. Senate. This work was a keystone in the creation of the Seventeenth Amendment which established the election of Senators through popular vote.

The Great American Fraud (1905) by Samuel Hopkins Adams revealed fraudulent claims and endorsements of patent medicines in America. This article shed light on the many false claims that pharmaceutical companies and other manufactures would make as to the potency of their medicines, drugs and tonics. This exposure contributed heavily to the creation of the Pure Food and Drug Act alongside Upton Sinclair's work. Using the example of Peruna in his article, Adams described how this tonic, which was made of seven compound drugs and alcohol,[29] did not have "any great potency".[29] Manufacturers sold it at an obscene price and hence made immense profits. His work forced a crackdown on a number of other patents and fraudulent schemes of medicinal companies.

Many other works by muckrakers brought to light a variety of issues in America during the Progressive era.[29] These writers focused on a wide range of issues including the monopoly of Standard Oil; cattle processing and meat packing; patent medicines; child labor; and wages, labor, and working conditions in industry and agriculture. In a number of instances, the revelations of muckraking journalists led to public outcry, governmental and legal investigations, and, in some cases, legislation was enacted to address the issues the writers' identified, such as harmful social conditions; pollution; food and product safety standards; sexual harassment; unfair labor practices; fraud; and other matters. The work of the muckrakers in the early years, and those today, span a wide array of legal, social, ethical and public policy concerns.

Muckrakers and their works


The influence of the muckrakers began to fade during the more conservative presidency of William Howard Taft. Corporations and political leaders were also more successful in silencing these journalists as advertiser boycotts forced some magazines to go bankrupt. The most significant factor in the disappearance of the muckrakers was their success. (Citation needed) Through their exposés, the nation was changed by reforms in cities, business, politics, and more. (What more?) Monopolies such as Standard Oil were broken up and political machines fell apart; the problems uncovered by muckrakers were resolved (Says who?) and thus muckrakers were needed no longer. (This section needs much improvement. This final sentence contradicts the statements made in the sections below that claim the Muckrakers of the Progressive Era are today’s investigative journalists.) [32]


According to Fred J. Cook, the muckrakers' journalism resulted in litigation or legislation that had a lasting impact, such as the end of Standard Oil's monopoly over the oil industry, the establishment of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, the creation of the first child labor laws in the United States around 1916. Their reports exposed bribery and corruption at the city and state level, as well as in Congress, that led to reforms and changes in election results.

"The effect on the soul of the nation was profound. It can hardly be considered an accident that the heyday of the muckrakers coincided with one of America's most yeasty and vigorous periods of ferment. The people of the country were aroused by the corruptions and wrongs of the age – and it was the muckrakers who informed and aroused them. The results showed in the great wave of progressivism and reform cresting in the remarkable spate of legislation that marked the first administration of Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1917. For this, the muckrakers had paved the way."[33]

Other changes that resulted from muckraker articles include the reorganization of the U.S. Navy (after Henry Reuterdahl published a controversial article in McClure's). Articles like David Graham Phillip's "Treason of the Senate" were used to change the way Senators were elected by the Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Since 1945

Some today use "investigative journalism" as a synonym for muckraking. Carey McWilliams, editor of the Nation, assumed in 1970 that investigative journalism, and reform journalism, or muckraking, were the same type of journalism.[34] Journalism textbooks point out that McClure's muckraking standards, "Have become integral to the character of modern investigative journalism."[35] Furthermore, the successes of the early muckrakers have continued to inspire journalists.[36][37] Moreover, muckraking has become an integral part of journalism in American History. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein exposed the workings of the Nixon Administration in Watergate which led to Nixon's resignation. More recently, Edward Snowden disclosed the activities of governmental spying, albeit illegally, which gave the public knowledge of the extent of the infringements on their privacy.

See also


  1. ^ Filler, Louis (1976). The Muckrakers: New and Enlarged Edition of Crusaders for American Liberalism. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 361, 367–68, 372. ISBN 0-271-01212-9.
  2. ^ Herbert Shapiro, ed., The muckrakers and American society (Heath, 1968), contains representative samples as well as academic commentary.
  3. ^ Judson A. Grenier, "Muckraking the muckrakers: Upton Sinclair and his peers." in David R Colburn and Sandra Pozzetta, eds., Reform and Reformers in the Progressive Era (1983) pp: 71-92.
  4. ^ Lapsansky-Werner, Emma J. United States History: Modern America, Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2011, p. 102.
  5. ^ Regier 1957, p. 49.
  6. ^ American epoch: a history of the United States since the 1890's (1st ed.). New York: Knopf. 1955. p. 62.
  7. ^ Brinkley, Alan. "Chapter 21: Rise of Progressivism". In Barrosse, Emily. American History, A Survey (twelfth ed.). Los Angeles, CA, US: McGraw Hill. pp. 566–67. ISBN 978-0-07-325718-1.
  8. ^ Weinberg & Weinberg 1964, p. 2.
  9. ^ Steffens, Lincoln (1958). The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens, abridged. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. p. 145.
  10. ^ Cook, Fred J. (1972). The Muckrakers: Crusading Journalists who Changed America. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. p. 131.
  11. ^ "Crucible Of Empire : The Spanish–American War – PBS Online". Archived from the original on December 7, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  12. ^ "A New Hospital for the Insane" (Dec. 1876) Brooklyn Daily Eagle
  13. ^ "An Insane Hospital for Brooklyn" (PDF). New York Times. December 23, 1876. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  14. ^ "Nellie Bly". Biography. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Walker, Martin (1983). Powers of the Press: Twelve of the World's Influential Newspapers. New York: Adama Books. pp. 215–217. ISBN 0-915361-10-8.
  16. ^ Weinberg, p. 2
  17. ^ Schudson, Michael (1978). Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers. New York: BasicBooks. p. 79.
  18. ^ Chalmers, David Mark (1964). The Social and Political Ideas of Muckrakers. New York: Citadel Press. pp. 105–08.
  19. ^ Wilson, p. 63
  20. ^ Weinberg, p. 441-443
  21. ^ Rivers, William L (1970). The Adversaries: Politics and the Press. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 16–20.
  22. ^ Steffens 1958, pp. 347–59.
  23. ^ Stephen E. Lucas, "Theodore Roosevelt's 'the man with the muck‐rake': A reinterpretation." Quarterly Journal of Speech 59#4 (1973): 452-462.
  24. ^ a b Roosevelt, Theodore (1958) [1913]. Andrews, Wayne, ed. The Autobiography, Condensed from the Original Edition, Supplemented by Letters, Speeches, and Other Writings (1st ed.). New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 246–47.
  25. ^ "Muckraking Journalism." (1997) Spartacus Educational. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 7, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link). Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  26. ^ Gallagher 2006, p. 13.
  27. ^ "The Woman Who Took On a Tycoon." Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  28. ^ a b “Muckrakers.” (2014). U.S. History Online Textbook. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  29. ^ a b c Weinberg, p. 195
  30. ^ Lee D. Baker. "Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Her Passion for Justice." (1996) Duke University. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 8, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link). Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  31. ^ "Ida B. Wells." (2017) Biography. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link). Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  32. ^ "Muckrakers." (2003) Online Encyclopedia. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 2, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link). Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  33. ^ Cook, Fred J. (1972). The Muckrakers: Crusading Journalists who Changed America. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. p. 179.
  34. ^ James L. Aucoin, The Evolution of American Investigative Journalism (University of Missouri Press, 2007) p. 90.
  35. ^ W. David Sloan; Lisa Mullikin Parcell (2002). American Journalism: History, Principles, Practices. McFarland. pp. 211–213..
  36. ^ Cecelia Tichi, Exposés and excess: Muckraking in America, 1900/2000 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)
  37. ^ Stephen Hess, Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters, 1978-2012 (2012)


  • Applegate, Edd. Muckrakers: A Biographical Dictionary of Writers and Editors (Scarecrow Press, 2008); 50 entries, mostly American contents
  • Cook, Fred J (1972), The Muckrakers, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co.
  • Gallagher, Aileen (2006), The Muckrakers, American Journalism During the Age of Reform, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group.
  • Lucas, Stephen E. "Theodore Roosevelt's 'the man with the muck‐rake': A reinterpretation." Quarterly Journal of Speech 59#4 (1973): 452-462.
  • Regier, CC (1957), The Era of the Muckrakers, Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith.
  • Steffens, Lincoln (1958), The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens (abridged ed.), New York: Harcourt, Brace & World
  • Swados, Harvey, ed. (1962), Years of Conscience: The Muckrakers, Cleveland: World Publishing Co.
  • Weinberg, Arthur; Weinberg, Lila, eds. (1964), The Muckrackers: The Era in Journalism that Moved America to Reform, the Most Significant Magazine Articles of 1902–1912, New York: Capricon Books.
  • Wilson, Harold S. (1970). McClure's Magazine and the Muckrakers. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 069104600X.

External links

Amity Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania

Amity Township is a township in Erie County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,073 at the 2010 census. There are no longer any boroughs or villages in the township, after the disappearance of Arbuckle and Hatch Hollow. The latter was the birthplace of famed muckraker Ida M. Tarbell, who was born in her grandfather's log cabin in Hatch Hollow in 1857.

Burton J. Hendrick

Burton Jesse Hendrick (December 8, 1870 – March 23, 1949), born in New Haven, Connecticut, was an American author. While attending Yale University, Hendrick was editor of both The Yale Courant and The Yale Literary Magazine. He received his BA in 1895 and his master's in 1897 from Yale. After completing his degree work, Hendrick became editor of the New Haven Morning News. In 1905, after writing for The New York Evening Post and The New York Sun, Hendrick left newspapers and became a "muckraker" writing for McClure's Magazine. His "The Story of Life-Insurance" exposé appeared in McClure's in 1906. Following his career at McClure's, Hendrick went to work in 1913 at Walter Hines Page's World's Work magazine as an associate editor. In 1919, Hendrick began writing biographies, when he was the ghostwriter of Ambassador Morgenthau's Story for Henry Morgenthau, Sr.

In 1921 he won the Pulitzer Prize for History for The Victory at Sea, which he co-authored with William Sowden Sims, the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page, and the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for The Training of An American.In 1919 Hendrick published the Age of Big Business by using a series of individual biographies to create an enthusiastic look at the foundation of the corporation in America and the rapid rise of the United States as a world power. After completing the commissioned biography of Andrew Carnegie, Hendrick turned to writing group biographies. There is an obvious gap in the later works published by Hendrick between 1940 and 1946, which is explained by his work on a biography on Andrew Mellon, which was commissioned by the Mellon family, but never published.

At the time of his death, Hendrick was working on a biography of Louise Whitfield Carnegie, the wife of Andrew Carnegie.

Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is an American nonprofit investigative journalism organization whose stated mission is "to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions in order to cause them to operate with honesty, integrity, accountability and to put the public interest first." With over 50 staff members, the CPI is one of the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative centers in America. It won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

The CPI has been described as an independent, nonpartisan watchdog group. The Center releases its reports via its website to media outlets throughout the U.S. and around the globe. In 2004, CPI's The Buying of the President book was on The New York Times bestseller list for three months.

Clarence Smedley Thomas

Clarence Smedley Thomas was a Progressive who founded the American Defense Society. Earlier in his career, he headed the Authors Syndicate Bureau with muckraker Will Irwin for the Progressive Party in 1912, worked as a publicist for the Commission for Relief in Belgium, and focused on publicity efforts to improve hygiene. Thompson's interest in national defense began with his work with the National Security League as one of its publicity heads, but he was irritated that the NSL's founder, Solomon Stanwood Menken did not want to expand the NSL’s publicity tactics or criticize Wilson. Thompson wanted to include parades, speakers, and exhibits in publicity campaigns. The NSL did not comply, so a small group of urban professionals splintered from the NSL and created the American Defense Society. Thompson was joined by Cushing Stetson and John F. Hubbard, and they officially created the ADS on August 4, 1915.

David Graham Phillips

David Graham Phillips (October 31, 1867 – January 24, 1911) was an American novelist and journalist of the muckraker tradition.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is an independent Washington D.C.-based international network. Launched in 1997 by the Center for Public Integrity, ICIJ was spun off in February 2017 into a fully independent organisation which includes more than 200 investigative journalists and 100 media organizations in over 70 countries who work together on "issues such as "cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power." The ICIJ has exposed smuggling and tax evasion by multinational tobacco companies (2000), "by organized crime syndicates; investigated private military cartels, asbestos companies, and climate change lobbyists; and broke new ground by publicizing details of Iraq and Afghanistan war contracts."The Panama Papers, was a collaboration of more than 100 media partners, including members of Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), with journalists who worked on the data, culminating in a partial release on 3 April 2016, garnering global media attention. The set of 11.5 million confidential financial and legal document from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca included detailed information on more than 14,000 clients and more than 214,000 offshore entities, including the identities of shareholders and directors including noted personalities and heads of state—government officials, close relatives and close associates of various heads of government of more than 40 other countries. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung first received the released data from an anonymous source in 2015. After working on the Mossack Fonseca documents for a year, ICIJ director Gerard Ryle described how the offshore firm had "helped companies and individuals with tax havens, including those that have been sanctioned by the U.S. and UK for dealing with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."The ICIJ's most recent investigation is the 2017 Paradise Papers, a cross-border, global investigation that reveals the offshore activities of some of the world's most powerful people and companies. The project involved 95 media partners and was based on 13.4 million leaked files.

Jack Anderson (columnist)

Jack Northman Anderson (October 19, 1922 – December 17, 2005) was an American newspaper columnist, syndicated by United Features Syndicate, considered one of the fathers of modern investigative journalism. Anderson won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his investigation on secret American policy decision-making between the United States and Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. In addition to his newspaper career, Anderson also had a national radio show on the Mutual Broadcasting System, acted as Washington bureau chief of Parade magazine, and was a commentator on ABC-TV's Good Morning America for nine years.Among his exposés was reporting the Nixon administration's investigation and harassment of John Lennon during its fight to deport Lennon, the continuing activities of fugitive Nazi officials in South America, and the savings and loan crisis. He revealed the history of a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro, and was credited for breaking the story of the Iran–Contra affair under President Reagan. He said that the scoop was "spiked" because the story had become too close to President Ronald Reagan.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Krishnan Guru-Murthy (born 5 April 1970) is a British journalist on Channel 4. He presents the Channel 4 News and the foreign affairs documentary series Unreported World.. He has had several high-profile interview walkouts and has been described by Robert Downey Jr. as a bottom-feeding muckraker.

Lina Attalah

Lina Attalah is an Egyptian media figure and journalist. Attalah is co-founder and chief editor of Mada Masr, an independent online Egyptian newspaper and was previously managing editor of the Egypt Independent prior to its closure in 2013. She is active in the fight against the restriction of honest journalism. TIME magazine recognized her as a New Generation Leader, calling her the "Muckraker of the Arab World."

Max Hamata

Max Shali Nghilifa Hamata (born in the Katutura suburb of Windhoek) is a controversial Namibian journalist and muckraker. He is the editor of The Confidente. Hamata previously worked as the editor of a Namibian weekly tabloid newspaper Informante, owned by TrustCo.

Offshore Leaks

Offshore Leaks is the name of a report disclosing details of 130,000 offshore accounts in April 2013. Some observers have called it the biggest hit against international tax fraud of all times (to date), although it has been pointed out that normal businesses may use the offshore legislation to ease formalities in international trade. The report originated from the Washington D.C.-based investigative journalism nonprofit, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), who collaborated with reporters around the world to produce the series of investigative reports published in connection with ICIJ's The Global Muckraker. The investigation is based on a cache of 2.5 million secret records about the offshore assets of people from 170 countries and territories, obtained by ICIJ's director, Gerard Ryle. The ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database is headed with the cautionary paragraph: "There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly."

More than 100 journalists from more than 60 countries and dozens of news organizations have taken part in the investigation, which has since expanded to include revelations about the offshore holdings of China's business and political elites.

Penny press

Penny press newspapers were cheap, tabloid-style newspapers mass-produced in the United States from the 1830s onwards. Mass production of inexpensive newspapers became possible following the shift from hand-crafted to steam-powered printing. Famous for costing one cent while other newspapers cost around 6 cents, penny press papers were revolutionary in making the news accessible to middle class citizens for a reasonable price.

Richard Schenkman

Richard Schenkman (born March 6, 1958) is an American screenwriter, film producer, film director and occasional actor. He has also been credited under the name George Axmith.

Riis Park (Chicago)

Riis Park is a 56-acre park on Chicago's Northwest Side in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. The park is named for Jacob Riis, a famous New York City muckraker journalist and photographer who documented the plight of the poor and working class.

The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Samuel Howell Ashbridge

Samuel Howell Ashbridge (December 5, 1848 – March 1, 1906) was an American politician. He served one term as the mayor of Philadelphia from 1899 to 1903. He was one of the mayors excoriated in Shame of the Cities, a series by muckraker Lincoln Steffens on municipal corruption. A report by the Philadelphia Municpal League referred to his administration as “a crew of municipal pirates.”

Sue-Ann Levy

Sue-Ann Levy (born 1956 or 1957) is a Canadian writer and political columnist. Her columns are distributed by Postmedia Network media company in Canada.

Levy is the niece of municipal lobbyist Jeffrey S. Lyons. She was hired by the Toronto Sun in the 1980s when Lyons's friend, Paul Godfrey, was its publisher, and went on to become the newspaper's long-time City Hall columnist. Her writing now focusses primarily on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (Queen's Park), the seat of the Government of Ontario, as well as municipal and social issues. She is the author of the book Underdog: Confessions of a Right-Wing Gay Jewish Muckraker (2016) and also appeared as a regular guest on The John Oakley Show on Talk 640 until 2018. She was previously a panelist on CBC Radio One's local Toronto afternoon drive show Here and Now, as well as an occasional commentator or panelist over various cable news channels.

Talking Points Memo

Talking Points Memo (or TPM) is a web-based progressive political journalism website created and run by Josh Marshall that debuted on November 12, 2000. The name is a reference to the memo (short list) with the issues (points) discussed by one's side in a debate or used to support a position taken on an issue. By 2007, TPM received an average of 400,000 page views every weekday.

The Bitter Cry of Children

The Bitter Cry of Children is a book by a socialist writer John Spargo, a muckraker in the Progressive Period. Published in 1906, it is an exposé of the horrific working conditions of child laborers. He discusses the works of the children he saw very emotionally as he says, "boys sit hour after hours, picking at the pieces of slate and other [trash]... I once stood... and tried to do the work a twelve-year-old boy was doing day after day, for ten hours at a stretch, for sixty cents a day. The gloom... [troubled] me".

The Jungle

The Jungle is a novel written in 1904 by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878–1968). Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. His primary purpose in describing the meat industry and its working conditions was to advance socialism in the United States. However, most readers were more concerned with several passages exposing health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meat packing industry during the early 20th century, which greatly contributed to a public outcry which led to reforms including the Meat Inspection Act. Sinclair famously said of the public reaction, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."

The book depicts working-class poverty, the lack of social supports, harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions, and a hopelessness among many workers. These elements are contrasted with the deeply rooted corruption of people in power. A review by the writer Jack London called it "the Uncle Tom's Cabin of wage slavery."Sinclair was considered a muckraker, or journalist who exposed corruption in government and business. In 1904, Sinclair had spent seven weeks gathering information while working incognito in the meatpacking plants of the Chicago stockyards for the newspaper. He first published the novel in serial form in 1905 in the Socialist newspaper Appeal to Reason, and it was published as a book by Doubleday in 1906.

Social impact
News media

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.