Thursday, December 12, 2013

Undercover Reporting Database

Undercover Reporting: Deception for Journalism's Sake: A Database 
is "a collaboration with NYU Libraries [that] collects many decades of high-impact, sometimes controversial, mostly U.S.-generated journalism that used undercover techniques. It grows out of the research for [Brooke Kroeger's] Undercover Reporting: The Truth about Deception which argues that much of the valuable journalism since before the U.S. Civil War has emerged from investigations that employed subterfuge to expose wrong. It asserts that undercover work, though sometimes criticized as deceptive or unethical, embodies a central tenet of good reporting--to extract significant information or expose hard-to-penetrate institutions or social situations that deserve the public's attention. The site, designed as a resource for scholars, student researchers and journalists, collects some of the best investigative work going back almost two centuries." --website

This unique resource collects a substantial amount of coverage--articles from major and not-so-major news publications, along with books, film, and television. In addition to author/reporter, date, and publication, the database is organized around thematic clusters--issues such as prisons, migrant workers, the Welfare system, gender, class,and many more. One can also filter searches by journalistic method (posed as, undercover, disguised, lived as, worked as). The database strives where it can for a deeper history than the last few decades. For example, there is a cluster called "Antebellum Undercover," which provides full-text articles of undercover reportage (1854-75) from the New York Tribune based on the work of journalists who headed South prior to the Civil War.  

This is a really interesting resource. Kudos to the NYU Libraries for getting the database to this point and for its future development. They welcome suggestions for new material as they plan to "deepen and internationalize" the collection. 

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