The Atlantic

How One Reporter Turned to His Readers to Investigate Donald Trump

The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold opened up to his audience, using crowdsourcing to explore the president-elect’s charitable activities.
Source: Brendan McDermid / Reuters

David Fahrenthold’s coverage of Donald Trump’s charities this year for The Washington Post stood out for its quality and depth. It also stood out the way he did his work. Mostly via Twitter, Fahrenthold asked his readers to be part of his journalism—direct contributors to his reporting—and he did so in an unusually transparent way.

He’s not the first to have used what some call crowdsourcing to deepen his sources and knowledge. But from my vantage point, as someone who’s paid attention to this kind of thing for many years, he’s taken it into new areas, notably by using social media in a particularly smart way. And his methods offer a lesson to others in journalism.


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