Washington Square News, “New Online Database Provides Open Access to Undercover Journalism”

Washington Square News

New Online Database Provides Open Access to Undercover Journalism

September 13, 2012

By Nicole Brown

Undercover Journalism has served the public well but does not receive the recognition it deserves, according to NYU particular field of journalism, Kroeger, who is also NYU director of Global and Joint Program Studies, teamed up with the university’s Division of Libraries to create an in-depth database.

“Undercover Reporting,” which went live in early August, is now available for public use online. It has over 2,500 articles written by undercover journalists, and dates range from the early 1800s to present day.

The site organizes the articles into clusters, which are grouped by subject, author or theme. Users can browse through all the individual articles or search a specific topic, author, date, method of investigation or publication. Each article’s page has an illustration, short excerpt, description and information about the author, publisher and time of publication. The database also provides links to the original texts.

After writing her 1995 “Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist” biography about the undercover reporter, Kroeger said she saw the need for a simpler way to access undercover reports.

The project was funded by NYU’s Humanities Initiative, which offers grants to faculty and students for projects it believes will promote interdisciplinary dialogue, teaching and research.

University librarian for Journalism, Media, Culture and Communication Alexa Pearce said the Digital Library Technology Services team and various members of the Library created the infrastructure of the site.

“This database is distinct because of its content, and because it is online-only,” Pearce said. “Journalists, researchers and members of the public who would like to understand more about undercover reporting and its history will find it very useful.”

Dan Fagin, director of the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at NYU, said the database will be beneficial to many.

“I think [the database] is a wonderful idea and is going to be useful to student journalists and professional journalists, not just in New York but all over since it’s so easily accessible,” Fagin said.

Lauren Holter, a CAS sophomore and journalism student, said the database will be useful when she needs to conduct research.

“Having so much information dating back to the 1800s in a single database will eliminate the struggle of trying to find old articles buried in outdated filing systems,” Holter said.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 13 print edition. Nicole Brown is a contributing writer. Email her at university@nyunews.com. 

NHD contestants: Please read this.

The Suffragents in the news: Kirkus FeaturesKirkus Reviews, Foreword ReviewsTown & Country, The American ScholarTabletmag.com,  Unorthodox podcast, Top of Mind with Julie Rose (live), NYU FeaturesWomen’s Media Center,  Futurity, Non-Fiction FansHeforShe.org’s The ScoopOpzij magazine (NL), AmericasDemocrats podcast, Facebook , Brooke’s posts, Good Men Project , suffrageandthemedia.org,

Upcoming events:  Oct. 19: East Hampton Library. Oct. 22: Author’s Talk & Tea: Woodlawn Conservancy. Oct. 26: Talk Back at the Black Box Theater  for Nancy Smithner’s “Hear Them Roar: The Fight for Women’s Rights.” Nov. 5: Holiday Book Signing at the Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck, NY. Nov. 6: Brentwood Public Library Nov. 7: NYU Center for the Humanities. Nov. 10: Gotham Center for NYC History/CUNY Graduate Center Nov. 16: Book & Bottle: Suffolk County Historical Society & Museum. Nov. 17-18 Researching New York Conference, Albany. Nov. 20: Brookhaven League of Women Voters. March 10: Keynote, Joint Journalism & Communications Historians Conference, New York City.

Parting shots of: the book launch events of Sept. 1 in East HamptonSept. 11 in NYC and Sept. 14 in Cambridge Mass. I’ve got comment and a video (expected soon) of the Sept. 28 event with Angela P. Dodson at the NY Society Library I spoke at the NY Genealogical & Biographical Society Fall Luncheon on Oct. 10 to an audience in which men were very well represented. Oct. 14, I presented on a panel at the AJHA Convention, Little Rock, Ark., on ‘When the Women of Suffrage Got Its Makeover On.” More to come on that.