Say what you will about the Trump administration, but it’s been a boon for investigative reporting. The stories waiting to be reported on and the proliferation of digital public records and data-mining tools make for some rich muck to be raked. Rarely has media and public interest in corruption and political influence been so palpable.
Readers, though, are usually only presented with the finished product. The reporters do the digging, decide what’s newsworthy, and package it into a polished article. That sort of journalism performs a valuable public service, but it can also shortchange the reader. The digging itself is half the fun.
At its best, investigative reporting keeps citizens apprised of their leaders. It’s a fundamentally democratic activity. So why not bring readers along for the hunt?
That’s what PAY DIRT will do.
We love investigative journalism, and we think you will too. So we’re going to do it together. Once a week, we’ll be delivering exclusive reporting and research on corruption, campaign finance, and influence peddling in the nation’s capital. But PAY DIRT is not a cleanly packaged exercise in textbook journalism. It’s a freewheeling descent down the rabbit hole of political money and influence. Together, we’ll plumb the depths of the swamp and find the stories that the nation’s power brokers hope no one notices.
Skepticism of political media is rampant and, let’s face it, not entirely unjustified. To give readers a real understanding of the facts, where they came from and how they support a narrative or an argument, the process needs to be demystified. We’re going to show our work and bring you, the reader, through the process of the investigation. With any luck, you’ll emerge from each issue of PAY DIRT better able to do your own investigating—to find and navigate information on the donors, interest groups, and elected officials that you deem worthy of a little scrutiny.
“A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it,” wrote James Madison, “is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both.” We want to bring you that information, and show you how to find it yourself. And above all, we want to have fun doing it.
So sign up for PAY DIRT and get a friend to sign up too. And join us every Thursday as we explore a week’s worth of grift.