Deception for Journalism's Sake: A Database

Deception for Journalism's Sake: A Database

A gathering of the undercover and experiential reporting of Elizabeth Cochrane, later Seaman, who wrote under the pen name of Nellie Bly.

Reporters have worked as guards or gotten themselves arrested -- sometimes with the aid of authorities and sometimes without -- to investigate conditions inside prisons and jails.

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

Journalists from the United States and Australia get inside the post-Civil War practice of recruiting Pacific Islanders to work the world's non-U.S. plantations on extended contracts of indenture.

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.

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