Muckraking And Objectivity

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Overview

This timely study by a former investigative reporter zeroes in on the role of the journalist in a democratic society. Robert Miraldi explores the relationship between an objective reportorial stance wherein an audience is given verifiable, neutral facts and muckraking, when a reporter crusades on an issue to expose what he or she sees as evil. Including examples of muckraking from newspapers, magazines, and television, the volume traces the history of muckraking journalism and investigative reporting from the turn of the century, when a band of magazine writers were exposing political and business corruption, to the sixties and seventies when television and newspaper reporters continued the tradition of expose journalism. He locates the colliding traditions of journalism in democracy's demand that the press uncover crime and corruption while at the same time requiring that reporters observe the social process more than intrude. The collision between objectivity and expose informs this fact-filled study.

The first chapter recounts Miraldi's experience as a New York City reporter tracking down illegal drug sales and offers an historical overview of muckraking journalism. Chapter Two analyzes the work of Ida Tarbell, David Graham Phillips, Samuel H. Adams, Will Irwin, Ray Stannard Baker, and Charles Edward Russell, six turn-of-the-century muckraking writers who were determined to be both objective reporters and partisan crusaders. The fall of muckraking journalism and its later reappearance with Edward R. MurroW's Harvest of Shame television documentary are the focus of chapters Three and Four. Chapter Five presents a case study of New York Times reporter John L. Hess' expose of New York State's nursing homes. Concluding with a look at factors that interfere with the work of journalists, Dr. Miraldi, in chapter Six, calls for a renewed spirit of activism as journalism enters the nineties. The book closes with a penetrating interview with Fred W. Friendly. This challenging history is must reading for scholars in journalism and mass media, practicing journalists and historians, students and teachers in college-level journalism and mass media courses, theory classes such as Press History and Mass Media in Society, as well as newswriting courses at all levels.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

ROBERT MIRALDI is Associate Professor of Journalism at SUNY, New Paltz, and a former reporter with the Staten Island Advance.

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Table of Contents

The Muckrakers: Heroes or Villains?

The Muckrakers: Storytelling and Reforming

The Muckrakers Are Chased Away

An Awakening: Murrow and the Migrants

Old People and Objectivity: The Times Crusades

Inching Society and Journalism Forward

Epilogue: When to Cross the Line

Selected Bibliography

Index

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