#MuckReads — Investigative Journalism, Crowdsourced

Independent, nonprofit investigative journalism outlet ProPublica hopes to make it easier for readers to share their investigative stories with its launch of social aggregation component #MuckReads.

Independent, nonprofit investigative journalism outlet ProPublica hopes to make it easier for readers to share their investigative stories with its launch of social aggregation component #MuckReads.

Users can Tweet investigation content with the #MuckReads hashtag, including text, interactive graphics, podcasts, and video, and ProPublica reporters and editors will curate the submissions and feature the best and most relevant fare. Users without Twitter accounts can email content to muckreads@propublica.org.

Tweets and recommended stories will also be featured on the ProPublica homepage and in its daily email newsletter.

ProPublica said #MuckReads was inspired by @LongReads, a long-form journalism community-driven effort.

ProPublica director of distributed reporting Amanda Michel spoke with Megan Garber of Nieman Journalism Lab about @LongReads and #MuckReads:

I was really excited by how Mark Armstrong, who runs (@LongReads), was able to create something of enduring value from something as ephemeral as a tweet. (It) is especially relevant to us here at ProPublica, because our reporters go down the rabbit hole and emerge months later with a story. One of the questions at the forefront of my mind is: What are ways that we can give their working conversation here greater value? What is it that we can do with them?

#MuckReads is in part a way for us to create value from that stream of tweets, and to create a way for other people to contribute to the feature.

Michel guided Garber through the back-end infrastructure for #MuckReads, and Garber pointed out that ProPublica can include editor’s notes from staffers to highlight exceptional content or additional context that may not be obvious from reading the headline.

Michel added in a post on the ProPublica Blog:

#MuckReads will curate the day’s essential accountability stories, discovered and shared by our reporters and editors, and readers like you — stories about the abuse of prisoners, the education levels of our country’s legislators, and the laundering of public funds. Our mission is to do journalism that has real-world impact, and we’re especially keen to find and promote work from others that has the same impetus.

Since ProPublica launched — three years ago almost to the day — we have been highlighting the best investigative and accountability journalism around the Web. #MuckReads is the next evolution of our “Investigations Elsewhere” feature (an archive of “Investigations Elsewhere” is available).

#MuckReads is primarily Twitter-driven, at least at the outset. You can contribute by simply including the hashtag #MuckReads when you tweet an article. If you don’t use Twitter, just email your recommendation to muckreads@propublica.org. We will look through your recommendations and add our favorites to the #MuckReads page, ProPublica’s homepage, and to our daily email. We will also retweet favorites from @ProPublica — all giving full credit to you.

Even though our feature’s name has the word “reads” in it, we are interested in everything: stories, interactive graphics and databases, comics, podcasts, video, etc. What matters is that the journalism is essential, excellent and focused on holding the powerful to account. We also hope to turn the flow of recommendations into an ongoing newsroom resource.