CommPilings (Annenberg School for Communication Library) “Undercover Reporting Database”

CommPilings: Resources/News/Alerts from the Annenberg School for Communications Library

12 December 2013

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.


Labels: databases, journalism, journalists, undercover journalism


posted by Sharon Black @ 8:42 AM

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Upcoming events 2018: March 20: UN Bookshop  March 25: NEW DATE: League of Women Voters of Westchester Champagne Fundraiser April 22: Nassau County Historical Society  at the Jericho Public LibraryApril 29: St. George’s School. May 12: East Hampton Library’s Tom Twomey Series (interviewing NYTimes media columnist, Jim RutenbergMay 20: Women’s Suffrage and NYC: A Centennial Celebration Symposium: Bronx Historical Society and Woodlawn Cemetery  June 14: Roosevelt Island Historical Society. July 7 East Hampton Library’s Tom Twomey Series (hosting with Sara Davison the garden author and expert Charlotte M. Frieze) : August 4: Shelter Island Historical Society.

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