Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Nellie Bly: Pioneering Investigative Journalist

In 1887, Nellie Bly arrived in New York City hoping to land a job at a major newspaper, but none was offered. After four months of rejection, and near penniless, she talked her way into the office of John Cockerill, managing editor of the Joseph Pulitzer newspaper "The New York World."

Determined not to leave without work, Nellie was eventually assigned to go under-cover as a patient in the notorious asylum on Blackwell's Island and report first-hand on her experience.

Nellie convinced both doctors and judges that she was insane, and was committed to the asylum. She endured filthy conditions, rotten food and physical abuse from doctors and nurses for ten days before a "World" agent rescued her. Nellie's articles "Behind Asylum Bars" and "Inside The Mad-House" created an uproar in New York. After further investigations were launched, New York officials provided more money and a change in care for the people at the asylum. Nellie Bly had arrived.

Nellie would spend the next several years writing articles for "The World." She pioneered the field of investigative journalism. Often going under-cover, she exposed crooked lobbyists in government, tracked the plight of unwanted babies, reported on the conditions for poor workers in box-making factories and much more. Nellie was becoming so popular, "The World" would often use her name in the story's headline. People couldn't wait to see what Nellie Bly was up to next.

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