Doing Social Justice Journalism

Why social justice journalism?

By Jeff Jeske
Guilford College


Social justice reporting has distinguished American journalism nearly from its beginnings. Noted practitioners have included William Lloyd Garrison (civil rights), Dorothy Day (poverty), Nelly Bly (asylum conditions), Ida Tarbell (worker’s rights), Upton Sinclair (factories), and later, Rachel Carson (environment), Jessica Mitford (prisons) and William Greider (globalization’s effects on workers).

As the “fourth estate,” journalism has long played a watchdog role with respect to government’s legislative, executive and judicial branches. Should it not also explore the human cost of government policies? Certainly journalism has rich potential for such work.
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