Deception for Journalism's Sake: A Database

Deception for Journalism's Sake: A Database

Reporters have presented as teachers or students to get an inside view of what goes on in schools and colleges.

Among the most common of poses: journalists who elect to live as tramps, the homeless, or the abject poor.

Waste, fraud, graft, laxity, dilapidated conditions, corruption: Reporters have often used undercover tactics to investigate.

Journalism that required costuming or even physical transformation by reporters reporting on racial, ethnic, gender or social groups not their own.

The work of groups such as James O'Keefe's Project Veritas and Lila Rose's LiveAction and their undercover operations.

Going undercover as volunteers or invited guests has gotten reporters an inside look at some U.S. political campaigns. So has shadowing the candidates in their off-hours. 

These are examples of undercover reportage that were considered to have crossed ethical lines or that caused major legal wrangles.

Since the 1870s, journalists have been posing as patients or attendants to expose horrid conditions and treatment inside mental hospitals. Nellie Bly, incidentally, was not the first.