Nellie Bly: A Pioneer In Investigative Journalism

[This blog has since moved to Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

This post is going to seem a bit left of centre compared to other posts, but when I discovered this lady whilst doing an assignment, I simply had to share.


 “Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.” – Nellie Bly’s motto

 Nellie Bly, born in 1864 as Elizabeth Jane Cochran, is a pioneer in investigative journalism. She went to phenomenal lengths to ‘get the story’ and reveal the social injustices of her time.

Her most notable pieces include: Ten Days In A Mad-House, and Around The World In Seventy-Two Days.

My personal favourite is Ten Days In A Mad-House.

Here Bly, 23 years old at the time, went undercover in one of New York’s women’s asylums to report on her experience there. She faked insanity fooling not only her friends and family, but also the doctors. After ten days of being undercover, she was released. The articles she went onto publish revealed what life really was like for the insane there and caused an uproar in New York.

As a result of these articles, investigations were launched with the result being increased funding for asylums and better care for those in there.

“Could I pass a week in the insane ward at Blackwell’s Island? I said I could and I would. And I did.” – Nellie Bly

Bly did many remarkable things throughout her career including travelling the world in a record-breaking 72 days in 1889, and being the first female war correspondent during World War I.

And when she died in 1922, The Evening Journal declared her to be “The Best Reporter in America.”

The more you research Bly and read about her life, the more respect and inspiration you can’t help but have for her. Her passion for revealing social injustices and being the best at what she did is unquestionable and undeniably inspirational.

“I have never written a word that did not come from my heart. I never shall.” – Nellie Bly

For more information see her website here.


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