Delve into the History of Investigative Journalism

In the US, journalists and members of the media are at the center of attention. Read how this form of communication has altered over the course of our country's history.

The evolution of American investigative journalism

Aucoin, James L. Missouri, 2005
242p, 0826216153 $37.50

According to Aucoin (Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile), investigative journalism is the cornerstone of American democracy. He argues that the Founding Fathers endowed the press with a “privileged position as a check on the abuses of government, a canvasser of ‘the merits and measures of public men of every description.’” Aucoin shows how investigative journalism has evolved over the years, from newspapers supporting political parties through the early investigations of social ills to the robber barons of the turn of the 20th century, to political corruption, Watergate, and the founding of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., Web site, CH, Jul’02, 39-6241). Aucoin does a terrific job of making the history of journalism available to the reader. He walks a fine line between a superb piece of historical research and a readable history for the masses. The readability of the book suffers a little at the expense of his research, but that is a minor flaw in a book that will be invaluable to anyone interested in journalism.

Summing Up: Essential. All readers; all levels.
Reviewer: D. Mason, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
Subject: Humanities – Communication
Choice Issue: May 2006