The watchdog role of journalists
The press has historically, though imperfectly, served as a check on government and corporate power in the United States. In NLP’s lesson “Democracy’s Watchdog,” you’ll be introduced to iconic examples of watchdog journalists and their work, including:
- Nellie Bly, posing as a mental patient to report on conditions at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island in New York City.
- Ida B. Wells, exposing the horrors of lynching throughout the South (and elsewhere in the United States).
- Seymour Hersh, reporting on a previously unknown massacre of villagers by U.S. troops during the Vietnam War.
- Richard Marosi and Don Bartletti, taking on corporate interests by documenting unsafe working conditions and the exploitation of child laborers at large produce farms in Mexico.
- Wesley Lowery and other Washington Post reporters, creating a database of police shootings when they discovered that none existed.
Investigations that have made a difference often receive journalism’s most prestigious honors — the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors awards, the Selden Ring Award and the Sidney Award, to name a few.