Muckraking!: The Journalism That Changed America
In collecting the kind of reportage that all too rarely appears in this age of media triviality and corporate conglomeration, Muckraking! documents an alternative journalistic tradition, one marked by depth of vision, passion for change, and bravery. From the Stamp Act to the abolition movement to the Vietnam war, from the fight against patent medicines to the elimination of labor spies, from the integration of baseball to the safety of government atomic workers, and from putting people in jail to getting them out, this book illustrates the great journalism that has made America a better country.
With more than 125 entries that range across three centuries, Muckraking! brings together the greatest moments of American journalism. Supplying historical context and critical commentary, the book also includes a selection of influential photographs and illustrations. By turns compelling and shocking, Muckraking! is an anthology for anyone who feels passionate about the heights that journalism can climb or its ability to illuminate the darkest depths.
- Paperback: 392 pages
- Publisher: The New Press (June 1, 2002)
About the Author
Judith Serrin has been a professor of journalism and a newspaper reporter and editor for several publications, most recently the Knight-Ridder Washington bureau.
William Serrin, a former labor and workplace correspondent for the New York Times, is an associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU. He is the author of several books, including Homestead: The Glory and Tragedy of an American Steel Town, and editor of The Business of Journalism (The New Press).
From Library Journal
This is not the first anthology of American investigative journalism, but it is almost surely the most varied, inclusive, and thoughtful. Judith Serrin, a former newspaper reporter, editor, and journalism professor, has teamed with New York University journalism professor William Serrin to select more than 100 examples of investigative journalism of the past 250 years from newspapers, magazines, broadcasting, and book publishing. The editors concede in an insightful introduction that the anthology is of necessity laudatory and subjective. However, the subjectivity is tempered by an emphasis on reporting that substantially contributed to political, economic, or social change nationally, regionally, or locally. The anthology is divided into types of topics investigated the poor, the working class, public health and safety, women’s rights, politics, race, sports, conservation, war, criminal justice, the media, and two catchall categories labeled muckraking and Americana. All entries within each category are presented chronologically and are introduced with one or more paragraphs that provide background on the journalist showcased and the context of that journalist’s quest for truth. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Steve Weinberg, Columbia, MO
In the spirit of Peter Finley Dunne’s quote that the purpose of journalism is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable, the Serrins, journalism professors, offer this outstanding collection of articles that changed lives for the better by uncovering public and private wrongdoing and championing worthwhile causes. Early examples include a report on race riots in Springfield, Illinois, in 1908 that called for change and led to the formation of the NAACP. Also collected are the first reports on the onset of AIDS in San Francisco that brought attention to the impending health crisis. The collection contains John Steinbeck’s reporting on migrant workers in the mid-1930s and Michael Harrington’s articles on poverty in the 1950s. The book is organized into topics, including social issues, politics, sports, crime and punishment, and war. Each article or book excerpt is preceded by an introduction that provides context for the subjects covered and the eventual impact of the material on American society. Readers interested in history and journalism will love this book. Vanessa Bush
The Serrins skillfully organize more than 100 works of varying length within 13 sections, each of which has a general subject (e.g. sports, poverty, war, politics). No doubt many of the journalists represented in this volume had little (if any) idea of what would eventually be uncovered when they began their “raking.” Of special interest to me are Douglass’ appeal for support to abolish slavery (“Escape to Freedom,” 1834), Steinbeck’s examination of migratory workers (“Harvest Gypsies,” 1936), Nader’s indictment of the automobile industry (“Unsafe at Any Speed,” 1965), and Hersh’s expose of atrocities committed by American troops in Viet Nam (“The My Lai Massacre,” 1969). Actually, I found all of the authors well-worth reading (or re-reading) and am grateful for the opportunity to share the thoughts and feelings of several previously unfamiliar to me.