"Submersion journalism" happens when a reporter dares to see a story from the inside: to participate in the events at hand, sometimes undercover, and then to tell the tale from a distinct point of view rather than pretend to some ideal of objectivity. During the Bush years, "Harper's" correspondents infiltrated the Republican machine, from its lowliest canvassing operation to its corporate and evangelical elite, and they posed as shady clients for sleazy blue-chip lobbying firms. They shot machine guns, lounged in Vegas brothels, and peered into secret tunnels in Mexicali. They terrorized art museums and touched off worldwide fads.
Here are some of the best examples of participatory reporting published in the past decade, called "brilliant work" by the "Los Angeles Times."
Contributors: Charles Bowden Adam Davidson Barbara Ehrenreich Steve Featherstone Kristoffer A. Garin Gary Greenberg Roger D. Hodge Jay Kirk Willem Marx Morgan Meis Jeff Sharlet Jake Silverstein Ken Silverstein Wells Tower William T. Vollmann Bill Wasik
Bill Wasik is a senior editor at "Wired Magazine" and was previously a senior editor at "Harper's Magazine." He is the author of "And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture"; a co-author, with Monica Murphy, of "Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus"; and the editor of "Submersion Journalism: Reporting in the Radical First Person from "Harper's Magazine (The New Press). He lives in Oakland, California.