This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Electronic Highways

Published: November 11, 2004

Modern muckraking: Investigative journalism on the Web

Bob Woodward, the legendary journalist whose investigative reporting in 1973 with his Washington Post colleague Carl Bernstein exposed President Nixon's connection to Watergate, will speak on Wednesday in Alumni Arena. Woodward and Bernstein's history-making series of articles are preserved online at the Post's "Watergate Revisited" archive ( Note that selected articles require free registration; for a shared, pre-existing username and password, visit

These days, the World Wide Web has made it possible for investigative journalists from even the smallest newspapers to reach an audience of millions. Several sites maintain online libraries of current and classic exposés. The Center for Investigative Reporting (, a nonprofit, independent news organization, archives investigations focusing on the subjects of social and criminal justice, the environment and science and technology. Some articles are authored by CIR staff, but most are collected from other media outlets like the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. The "Advanced Investigation Search" feature (''&search_text) dates back to 1977.

More stories can be found at Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. ( in the Resource Center (, a searchable database of more than 20,000 stories. Although the IRE's archives are not full-text, they encompass a broader range of topics than the CIR, and current UB users can locate quickly the full text of an article citation by checking the title of the source in Electronic Journals ( In addition, the IRE site maintains a blog of investigative reports from the current year ( that do link to the full text of the original source.

Finally, if reading some of these stories has left you feeling inspired, try some sleuthing of your own at Reporter's Desktop (, the brainchild of New York Times investigative reporter Duff Wilson. Intended to be a one-stop resource for journalism professionals working under tight deadlines, Reporter's Desktop pulls together the best free—and just a few not-so-free—search sites on the Web in one handy, easy-to-use page. The Desktop homepage provides its own search boxes for major search engines, online telephone directories, email directories, dictionaries, thesauri, medical studies, scientific studies and current Associated Press news reports. There also are links to locate corporate financial information, conversion calculators, professional directories, Freedom of Information Act request forms and public records. The somewhat hidden feature "Who Is John Doe—and where to get the paper on him" ( is an excellent pathfinder for locating people.

For more information on Bob Woodward's visit to UB, including where to purchase tickets, consult the Office of Special Event's Distinguished Speakers Series page at

—Jennifer L. Behrens, University Libraries