Definition: A muckraker is a journalist that investigates and publishes controversial viewpoints about certain topics or information about prominent figures of society. It is a term that currently describes investigative journalism in the U.S.
What Does Muckraker Mean?
The term was popularized in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt in one of his speeches to the U.S. nation. It is a word that were often used to describe a person with an unscrupulous attitude to dig dirt about people to expose it to society. Nevertheless, the term has evolved a little bit and now is mostly employed to portrait journalists with a keen attitude to address critical issues of society, to bring them into the public’s agenda through investigative reporting.
Sometimes, the term can be used to reference misleading and, frequently, untruthful publications and magazines that exploit the life of celebrities, by exposing their private affairs. Some of the most known muckrakers of the early 20th century were Ray Stannard Baker, Upton Sinclair and Samuel Adams, who wrote mostly about work conditions and industry standards and practices employed by the meat packing, mining and pharmaceutical industries of those times. Their investigations led sometimes to legislatives changes and political measures to address the exposed issues due to the society’s attention and pressure aroused by their articles and findings.
Jonathan is a reporter of the Weekly News Co. A local newspaper based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He currently works at the Politics Department, where he is in charge of investigating and reporting about the current city’s main public policies and politicians.
He is currently pursuing a report about an alleged deviation of funds towards the political campaign of one of the State’s Senators. The funds came from a Salt Lake City municipal institution and it seems there were some fraudulent transactions going on. Some of the politicians Jonathan has interviewed has mentioned the term “muckraker” to describe his work.