Monday, February 15, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: "Muckrackers" by Ann Bausum

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by The Art of Irreverence! Thanks for hosting. Also, there is now a Nonfiction Monday list-serv!! Hurray!

Happy President's Day! Or officially Washington's Birthday Holiday! There was a short story about this fact on the local news...

This monday, I picked up Ann Bausum book titled Muckrackers from National Geographic.

Muckraker - one who seeks to expose corruption
of businesses or government to the public.
The term originates from writers of the Progressive movement
What Caught My Eye: The giant M in the center from an old typewriter. The word "Muckrakers" on top of that. The subtitle "How Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, and Lincoln Steffens Helped Expose Scandal, Inspire Reform, and Invent Investigative Journalism." Who were these people? What the heck is a muckraker?

Why I didn't Put It Down: This book is just filled with interesting facts about this beginning of investigative journalism. Ann Bausum writes a very engaging story of how these individuals caused social reform by writing about things in a way that exposed the corruption, injustice and horrors of powers going unchecked but never let their readers become complacent with what was happening in their government, on the streets, or to the food they were consuming. It is filled with photos of the journalists, images of the old magazines they wrote for, as well as images of the subjects these journalists were writing about.

Bausum quotes Ray Stannard Baker (1906)-

The journalist is a true servant of democracy.
The best journalist of today occupies the exact
place of the prophets of old:
he cries out the truth and calls for reform.
It was interesting reading given how media outlets, in America at least, are more about ratings then they are about news. Overall, this is a great book about these important individuals who lead the way in writing about things that people were too afraid to say anything about and made me hopeful that maybe one of the kids who picks it up will want to write for the greater good.
Who Would I Recommend This To: This is for a middle schooler. A student interested in journalism or history.

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