Ask students to consider Sinclair's works as political commentaries and historic records. Suggest that they research a topic about which Sinclair wrote -- the meatpacking industry or labor unions, for example; then have them share their assessment of the accuracy of Sinclair's representation.
The muckrakers used the media to alert the public to important issues and to initiate social change. Have students discuss how today's media is used to investigate social and economic problems. Have them list the topics covered in a week's worth of television "newsmagazine" shows. Ask them to compare and contrast the approaches and subjects of contemporary television investigative reports with those of the early-twentieth-century muckrakers.
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