Raw Thought

by Aaron Swartz

Is Undercover Over?

My latest piece for Extra! is now up:

Is Undercover Over?: Disguise seen as deceit by timid journalists

It’s about the rise and fall of undercover journalism. Here’s an excerpt:

Undercover reporting has a storied history. Nellie Bly, famous for traveling around the world in 80 days, also did a famed investigation of the conditions in insane asylums for the New York World. Bly feigned insanity for a series of physicians before being committed to a lunatic asylum. There she documented rotten and spoiled food, freezing living conditions, frigid bathwater, abusive nurses and relatively sane fellow residents. “What, excepting torture, would produce insanity quicker than this treatment?” she wondered. The series, later published as the book Ten Days in a Mad-House, created a sensation, and Bly was asked to join a government investigation of asylum conditions.

You should follow me on twitter here.

June 12, 2008


I liked the article and agree with the opinion that it seems to convey.

The question running through my head while reading it, “Is it really that hard not to get sued?” It seems like you can be creative in your deception and double check your allegations. Furthermore, are allegations made by undercover investigations any more likely to spur a lawsuit than those made through more conventional journalism?

posted by Alex on June 13, 2008 #

You can also send comments by email.

Email (only used for direct replies)
Comments may be edited for length and content.

Powered by theinfo.org.