Deception for Journalism’s Sake: A Database has relaunched with a new website found at undercoverreporting.org. Begun as a collaboration with NYU Libraries, this database, now hosted by NYU Journalism, collects many decades of high-impact, sometimes controversial, mostly U.S.-generated journalism that deployed undercover techniques.
The database grew from Undercover Reporting: The Truth About Deception (Northwestern University Press, 2012), 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.