Undercover reporting is the James Dean of journalism: thrilling, but dangerous.
Nellie Bly did it in 1887 when she checked herself into an insane asylum and emerged with stories of beatings and neglect.
ABC Primetime Live did it in 1992 when reporters posed as supermarket workers at Food Lion to expose some of the chain's practices, including the repackaging of older meat with a new sell-by date.
And now, Mother Jones magazine has published its 35,000-word investigation of a Louisiana for-profit prison, based on reporter Shane Bauer's four-month stint as a prison guard.
In doing so, the magazine walked up to the line of accepted journalism ethics: Reporters shouldn't lie or misrepresent themselves as they pursue a story.