Muckraking is an investigative journalism that aims to expose accounts of political and economic corruption as well as social effects caused by big businesses. This type of journalism consists of three models; simple muckraking, leap impact and truncated muckraking.
Simple Muckraking refers to the process where journalists investigate on an issue affecting the country caused either by the government or big businesses. The findings are then published or aired via media to create public awareness and consequently stir public opinion. The public acts on these findings by demanding policy-adjustments in order to curb vices in the society. This way, journalists are able to participate in policy initiatives and formulations by assuming either the role of public advocates or government mouthpieces. Simple muckraking model provide a step-by-step sequence of policy reformations followed by journalists to instigate change.
On the other hand, leaping impact refers to the process where steps in journalistic investigations or policy formulations are skipped. This occurs when an investigation is not published but used to influence a policy formulation. Graber and Dunaway (2018) give such instances; when a story is stopped because the perpetrators fear exposure or when policymakers swiftly respond to a story to evade pressure from the public. The effect of this module is to cover stories that may blow out of proportions if exposed to the public. Leaping impact is thus used to manipulate officials to effect policy changes privately.
Finally, truncated muckraking occurs when the sequence followed by journalists to influence policy reformations stops and thus no policy implication is influenced. This may be as a result of inconclusive findings of an investigation or the findings obtained by journalists do not have enough weight to move public opinion. This model majorly leads to framing developments in stories.
As the role of mass media in political and economic setups in America continues to change, muckraking is at the centre, influencing policy changes and creating public awareness on issues that impact the country as a whole.
Graber, D. A. & Dunaway, J. (2018). Mass media and American politics ( 10th edition). SAGE publishing