Journalism's Got Talent: Online Investigative Reality Show Spotlight's 'Muckrakers'

Article excerpt

It's not quite "American Idol" for journalists, but Muckraker: The Truth in Reality aims to combine the popular reality show format with hard-hitting investigative journalism.

Developed by 2012 Knight fellows Djordje Padejski and Beth Daley, and Stanford graduate students So-Eun Park, Archer Zhang, Laura Liu He, and Saman Ghani Khan, the project's goal is to find an innovative way to bring investigative journalism to a younger audience.

"In the media market, there is extreme interest in developing original-content Web channels," Padejski said. He referred to the Knight Foundation's recent $800,000 grant to the Center of Investigative Reporting for its effort to launch an investigative YouTube channel.

Daley said the process is still an experiment, but the concept is for professional journalists, freelancers, or community activists to submit a 30-second video pitch (or they can submit a written pitch) for an investigative story. Once the production team selects the topics, a panel of journalists and a video crew will be assigned to each story for about six weeks. Each week, clips will be posted as the story develops, and, at the end, a final video product will be shown. Viewers will then vote for the best story. Daley said most likely, the prize will be a partnership between the winner and a media publication.

Daley, who has been a reporter for The Boston Globe since 1994, said she was skeptical when Padejski first approached her with the idea. …