Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

Long ago, during the first year of my apprenticeship as a newspaperman, someone told me that a reporter is the person chosen by the tribe to enter the cave and tell them what lies within. If a furious storm is raging, the tribe might find safety and warmth. ...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xx

This book unabashedly celebrates the great American journalistic tradition of undercover reporting and offers an argument, built on the volume of evidence, for the restoration of its once-honored place in the array of effective journalistic techniques. ...

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One: Introduction

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pp. 3-14

Two reporters witnessed the mistreatment of Iraq war veterans at the nation’s premier military hospital and documented it in articles1 that brought swift and sure results. Within a day after the series began, Walter Reed Army Medical Center had work crews on site upgrading its mold- and rodent-infested outpatient facilities.2 ...

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Two: Reporting Slavery

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pp. 15-30

From the mid- to the late 1850s, no U.S. newspaper was more aggressive or influential than Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune in the use of its pages to hasten the downfall of slavery. Whenever and however possible, the newspaper featured detailed on- site reporting on the evil of the age. ...

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Three: Virtual Enslavement

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pp. 31-44

The worldwide shortage of raw cotton provoked by the Civil War meant opportunity for planters in other tropical and subtropical regions, who began hiring foreign laborers on contracts of indenture to help meet rising production demands. As copra and sugar replaced cotton and the plantations’ economies expanded even more, ...

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Four: Predators

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pp. 45-56

Some of the most daring and effective of the known undercover investigations into the murky world of human trafficking have been the work of journalists abroad, starting with the textbook-perfect execution and impact of W. T. Stead’s child prostitution exposé for London’s Pall Mall Gazette. ....

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Five: Hard Labor, Hard Luck, Part One

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pp. 57-76

Chronology suggests a direct link from Helen Stuart Campbell’s mostly forgotten reporting on the plight of the poor in the 1870s to the undercover journalism of her more celebrated successors in the decades ahead. She is an important but largely overlooked figure in the development of undercover reporting, ...

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Six: Of Jack London and Upton Sinclair

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pp. 77-92

The books of two of undercover reporting’s most iconic male role models appeared in the very first years of the twentieth century. Jack London’s People of the Abyss was a purported sociological investigation and Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was a novel of social reform. ...

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Seven: Hard Labor, Hard Luck, Part Two

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pp. 93-102

Shortly before the exposés of Jack London and Upton Sinclair exploded the possibilities of the undercover narrative, women writers remodeled the newspaper stunt girl for the magazine and book readers of the new century. The sisters-in-law Van Vorst, Marie and Bessie (aka Mrs. John), were among the most successful. ...

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Eight: The Color Factor

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pp. 103-134

Sometimes an undercover assignment requires more than costuming and cunning. Clothes, wigs, mustaches, and suggestive accessories have often provided adequate disguises, but a totally convincing performance of racial or ethnic identity requires more. Over and over again, the unfortunate national habit ...

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Nine: Undercover Under Fire

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pp. 135-146

Ted Conover was twenty when he delayed his last year of college to spend four months1 “hopping freight” across the western half of the United States to write about the last generation of American hoboes, placing himself at the far end of a long and fruitful vine of American writers who tramp dating back to the 1800s. ...

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Ten: Sinclair’s Legatees

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pp. 147-170

The 1990s were especially rich in journalism that combined the nauseating backdrop of abuses by food handlers with boundary-pushing undercover techniques. Such stories helped capture two Pulitzer Prizes for National Reporting in this period and prompted landmark lawsuits over the use of hidden cameras in television reports. ...

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Eleven: Hard Time

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pp. 171-208

Reporters have been infiltrating prisons, hospitals, and mental institutions at least since Nellie Bly auditioned for the New York World in 1887 from an asylum in the middle of the East River. Then and much later, those who have dared to pose for journalism’s sake as patients, inmates, guards, and aides are short on fear ...

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Twelve: Crusaders and Zealots

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pp. 209-232

Almost no clandestine group has escaped the disloyal scrutiny of infiltrators who gained access to its secrets and then shared them for publication against the organization’s wishes. Going back as far as the early 1800s and forward to the present, from the Masons to the theocrats of the Washington elite, ...

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Thirteen: Watchdog

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pp. 233-256

Beyond slavery and its near relations, beyond sexual predators, tramping, homelessness, factories, food, migrants, prisons, hospitals, asylums, fanatics, extremists; beyond the startling practices featured in the chapters just ahead, plenty of other subject areas and issues have lent themselves to undercover treatment. ...

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Fourteen: Mirage

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pp. 257-280

Of all the known attempts of journalists going undercover to expose things gone wrong, none quite rivals the ingenuity and imaginative flair of the Mirage exposé. More than thirty years after the Chicago Sun-Times published “this tale of cold beer and hot graft, in which a team of investigative reporters ran a Chicago tavern to probe corruption ...

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Fifteen: Turkmenistan and Beyond

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pp. 281-296

In 2008, the New Press published Submersion Journalism, a collection of fifteen relatively contemporaneous articles from Harper’s magazine, compiled and edited by Bill Wasik, then one of the magazine’s longtime senior editors and an advocate of the technique. As described in the book’s table of contents, the articles, many reported undercover, ...

Notes

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pp. 297-408

Bibliography

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pp. 409-470

Index

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pp. 471-496