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.

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. 

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.

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

Reporters have worked as migrant laborers and shadowed undocumented workers crossing the border into the United States.