The Most Famous Muckraker: Ranking the Courageous Journalists Who Shaped History

Choose the muckraker you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 14, 2024 08:16
Welcome to StrawPoll's exciting ranking of "Who is the most famous muckraker?" - a battle of wits, words, and investigative prowess that shaped the course of history! We've compiled a sensational list of the most intrepid and fearless muckrakers who dared to expose societal wrongs and ignite change. These heroes of journalism have shed light on hidden corners of society, championing the truth and inspiring generations to come. Now, it's your turn to be a part of this thrilling contest! Cast your vote for your favorite truth-seeker, or suggest a missing crusader in our quest for the ultimate muckraker. Will it be the indomitable Ida Tarbell, the audacious Upton Sinclair, or perhaps the tenacious Nellie Bly? The choice is yours! Dive into the captivating world of these trailblazers and let the battle of the muckrakers commence!

Who Is the Most Famous Muckraker?

  1. 1
    Sinclair is considered the most famous muckraker due to his book "The Jungle" which exposed the harsh realities of the meatpacking industry in 1906.
  2. 2
    Ida Tarbell
    James Edward Purdy · Public domain
    Tarbell's exposé on the Standard Oil Company in 1904 is considered a landmark in the history of investigative journalism. Her work contributed to the breakup of the company.
  3. 3
    Lincoln Steffens
    George G. Rockwood · Public domain
    Steffens is known for his work on political corruption in the early 1900s. His book "The Shame of the Cities" exposed the corrupt practices of city governments.
  4. 4
    Nellie Bly
    Mef.ellingen · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Bly was a pioneer in investigative journalism who went undercover in an insane asylum to expose the mistreatment of patients. She also traveled around the world in 72 days, breaking the record at the time.
    Nellie Bly in other rankings
  5. 5
    Jacob Riis
    Pirie MacDonald · Public domain
    Riis was a journalist and photographer who exposed the living conditions of the poor in New York City's slums through his book "How the Other Half Lives."
  6. 6
    Baker's series of articles on race relations in the South in the early 1900s helped to bring attention to the issue and push for change.
  7. 7
    Ida B. Wells
    Mary Garrity · Public domain
    Wells was a journalist and civil rights activist who exposed the widespread lynching of African Americans in the South in the late 1800s.
    Ida B. Wells in other rankings
  8. 8
    Seldes was a journalist and author who exposed corporate and government corruption in the early 1900s. He was blacklisted by the media for his outspoken views.
  9. 9
    Phillips was a journalist and author who exposed political corruption and influence in the early 1900s. His book "The Treason of the Senate" caused a national scandal.
  10. 10
    Frank Norris
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Norris was a journalist and novelist who exposed the corrupt practices of the railroad industry in his book "The Octopus."

Missing your favorite muckraker?


Ranking factors for famous muckraker

  1. The impact of their work
    How influential and game-changing were the problems they uncovered?
  2. The level of exposure they received
    How many people were made aware of their work?
  3. Their reach
    How widely were their writings read or their speeches heard?
  4. The controversy they generated
    How much debate did their work generate, and how well did they defend their position?
  5. Their historical significance
    How much of their work endures and how important is it to society today?

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous muckraker. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or muckraker is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 188 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each muckraker once every 24 hours. The rank of each muckraker is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous muckraker

Muckrakers were a group of investigative journalists who gained prominence in the early 20th century. They were known for their exposés on corruption, social injustices, and political scandals. The term "muckraker" was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, who criticized the journalists for only focusing on the negative aspects of society. Despite this, muckrakers played a crucial role in shaping public opinion and bringing about social and political reforms. Some of the most famous muckrakers include Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, and Ray Stannard Baker. Their works shed light on issues such as child labor, monopolies, and government corruption, and inspired a new era of investigative journalism. Today, muckraking continues to be an important part of journalism and serves as a reminder of the power of the press to hold those in power accountable.

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