At the end of the nineteenth century, journalism styles ranged from direct reports of events without much analysis to yellow journalism, which contained sensational headlines and often dubious claims. Muckraking took an in-depth investigative approach to uncover serious issues affecting everyday Americans, including government and business corruption and discrimination.


To learn more about the muckraking style of writing, read the following excerpt from Ida Tarbell’s book and answer the questions below.

Optional: Optional: Read more about the Oil War of 1872 in chapter 3 of Tarbell’s book.



Annotate this Image

Directions: Read the article below, utilizing the magnifier to help you. Then use the annotation tool to take notes on the following questions:

  1. What is the first thing you notice about the article? Why might that be the intended effect by the article’s editor?
  2. What is the main idea of the article?
  3. What differences do you notice in the tone and style of the writing from the excerpt above? Use specific examples.
  4. Does the journalist have a particular point of view? Explain.

Download the notes to share with your class.

Source: The Washburn Leader. Washburn, North Dakota, Jan. 25, 1902. Library of Congress

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