10 American Journalists Who Exposed Corruption and Wrongdoings

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10 American Journalists Who Exposed Corruption and Wrongdoings

Journalism plays an essential role in keeping the governing bodies and corporations accountable. It brings public attention to the wrongdoings and corruption happening behind the scenes that would otherwise remain hidden. The following ten American journalists are exemplary in their reporting, showcased investigative journalism at its very best, and protected our democracy.

1. Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells-Barnett was an African American journalist who worked to expose the injustice and violence perpetrated against the black community in the 1890s. Her work often put her in danger, but she never gave up, even when chased out of Memphis. Her writings led to the creation of the first anti-lynching laws in 1917, making her a champion of civil rights.

2. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are iconic American journalists whose names are synonymous with investigative journalism. In the 1970s, they worked on uncovering the Watergate scandal that brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. Their work on this story has inspired numerous journalists globally to pursue in-depth probing of power structures.

3. Seymour Hersh

Seymour Hersh is an investigative journalist who broke some of the most significant stories of the 20th century, mostly related to the Vietnam War era. He exposed the My Lai Massacre, which earned him the Pulitzer Prize in 1970, and later, exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal during the Iraq War. Throughout his career, his work distils the essence of accountability journalism.

4. Woodward and Armstrong

By exposing the corrupt practices of the Church of Scientology, journalists Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos, sensitized the public to the dangers of the group’s activities. Their work leads to the publishing of a 24-part series in the LA Times, which verified the abuses of the organization and earned them acclaim for their journalistic excellence.

5. Edward R. Murrow

Edward R. Murrow was a journalist known for his coverage from conflict zones globally, especially World War II. His most famous work came in the form of the 1954 McCarthy hearings, when he spoke out against Senator Joseph McCarthy and his tactics. This move put his job at risk, but his dedication to the truth never wavered.

6. Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a journalist who gained considerable fame for publishing documents leaked by Edward Snowden regarding government surveillance programs spying on both American and foreign citizens. His work brought into the open the extent of government surveillance, and he continues to keep the public informed regarding government activities.

7. Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson may not be the typical investigative journalist, but his methods made him one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. The founder of Gonzo journalism, Thompson’s unorthodox approach to reporting provided new insight and entertainment to journalism.

8. Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace was an American television journalist whose career spanned six decades. Wallace was known globally for his investigative journalism, and his hard-hitting interview style allowed him to break many notable stories. His coverage of Watergate and the Vietnam War is particularly noteworthy.

9. Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly was an investigative journalist known for her work around the turn of the 20th century. Bly was a trailblazer for women in journalism and became famous for going undercover to expose abusive practices at an insane asylum. She also made a record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, which challenged the perception that women were not suited for such adventures.

10. Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a writer and journalist who gained prominence for his coverage of African American issues, particularly the impact of slavery and its continuing legacy to the present day. His writing frequently delves into the political and cultural aspects of race in America and exposes the discrimination that continues to exist.


These ten journalists stand out as beacons of light during times when truth and justice are under threat. Their tireless work has ensured that the American people are informed of the wrongdoings of their governments and corporations, making the country a better place for everyone. We should be proud of their work and be inspired by their example as we endeavor to continue the fight for transparency and accountability.

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