This Digital ‘Muckraker’ Works 80 Hours a Week

Steve Neavling launched Detroit website Motor City Muckraker after he was fired from the Free Press.

Detroit’s written-word media landscape is no longer dominated by a pair of daily newspapers. These days, as elsewhere, it’s a narrative that is also punctuated by websites with names like Model D and Motor City Muckraker.

Model D was launched in 2005, Motor City Muckraker in 2012. The two come together this week via a carryover of Patrick Dunn’s excellent look at three Detroit-area independent journalists, including Steve Neavling, founder of Muckraker. Last year, Neavling’s series on mismanagement within the Detroit Fire Department led to the resignation of the fire commissioner:

The Detroit Free Press fired Neavling from his reporter job in 2012 after then-Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh complained about Neavling’s decision to print a dismissive remark Pugh had made to him during a break from a council meeting. Neavling started Muckraker two months later as a way to continue reporting until he found a new job. But he says he was thrilled with the new freedom he had found.

“I can’t emphasize enough how liberating it is to be able to write about what I find important by living in Detroit, versus editors from the suburbs telling me what they think are the most important issues in Detroit,” he says.

Neavling does other writing on the side and lives with Abigail Shah, who juggles her Muckraker publisher responsibilities with three unrelated jobs. The two are planning a crowdfunding campaign in the near future.

Also profiled in Dunn’s piece are Curt Guyette, who writes for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, and blogger Mark Maynard. For a most recent example of the positive impact Muckracker is having in the Motor City, click here.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.