I know we needed the moisture but I’m glad the rain is supposed to stop today.
The Sheridan Press organized a softball team made up primarily of Press staffers as well as some friends and family. We got rained out on Wednesday and again for our makeup game Friday.
We’ve dubbed ourselves the “Muckrakers” and even ordered some snazzy T-shirts with a Clark Kent look-alike on it holding a rake.
As I passed around the T-shirts, though, I was asked several times what the name means.
Maybe it was the fact that as an eager college freshman at Northwestern University I read “Muckraking! The Journalism That Changed America.”
The book is great — entertaining and motivating. It documents more than 100 examples of muckraking or as the book says, “the great journalism that has made America a better country.”
So what is muckraking?
Pure and simple it is investigative reporting. It often advocated for reform or change and pointed to flaws in our systems. It was the fight to make our country the best it could be.
I often had a J-school professor who used to say muckraking was “shoveling through all the B.S. to find the truth.” I always liked that definition because it seemed the most straightforward.
The term is often confused with “yellow journalism,” though, and that phrase does not muster up much admiration. Yellow journalism is the kind of reporting I think of when I think cable news. It presents little or no legitimate news and instead uses eye-catching headlines, exaggerates, emphasizes scandal and sensationalizes just about everything.
Anyway, our team may not be the most skilled at softball, but we’ll certainly have fun. The program through the Sheridan Recreation District is a great way to build company camaraderie and just take some frustrations out on a softball with a big metal bat.
Some times you just need to take a whack at something, you know?
Once this rain stops, you can take me out to the ball game. That’s one of the places I feel most at home.
Kristen Czaban is managing editor of The Sheridan Press.