MuckRock turns five

Written by Michael Morisy
Edited by JPat Brown

Five years ago today, MuckRock was born — or, at least, the domain was registered. Mitchell Kotler and I started with just an idea, an experiment: What if we built a website that let anyone ask a question to their government, and we helped them get an answer?

What if we built that website as a new kind of news organization, one that didn’t rely on advertisers or closing off information, but rather was most successful when we shared what we learned with the world, while being directly funded by those who we could help?

Five years later, that experiment is somehow still ongoing, thanks to millions of thoughtful readers, thousands of insightful users and an incredible, hardworking team both past and present. MuckRock has grown in ways I could never have imagined, publishing hundreds of stories of national public interest and local curiosity.

Since shortly after our launch, we’ve had our statistics on the front page of the site, and it’s been thrilling and terrifying to watch the milestones pass. After we filed a hundred requests, I began questioning how we could ever scale to a thousand. Now that we’re at 13,555 requests, I wonder where we’re going to put all the paper when we hit 100,000.

But more important than the numbers we count are the stories you will help tell, whether it’s holding government accountable, revealing a hidden side of American history, or just peeking into the CIA’s cafeteria suggestion box.

So to everyone who has ever filed a request through MuckRock, shared an interesting story, or simply read something new to them, thank you. It’s been an incredible five years.