Today would have been the 151st birthday of Elizabeth Cochran, a the groundbreaking journalist using the pen name — Nellie Bly. She started her career as a jounalist In 1885, when she wrote an enraged letter to a Pittsburgh Dispatch denouncing a column that described the working woman as a "monstrosity" and said that women were best suited for domestic chores.
Impressed by Bly's letter, the newspaper’s editor George Madden hired her as a full-time reporter. She was an unwavering champion for women and the working poor. One of her most famous assignments was for The New York World where she posed as a mentally ill woman and exposed the horrors of a women’s asylum on Blackwell's Island.
She was also an industrialist, inventor, and a charity worker.
Bly focused her early work for the Dispatch on the plight of working women, writing a series of investigative articles on women who were factory workers, but editorial pressure pushed her to the so-called "women's pages" to cover fashion, society, and gardening, the usual role for women journalists of the day. Dissatisfied with these duties, she took the initiative and traveled to Mexico to serve as a foreign correspondent.
Bly also achieved worldwide fame with her 1889 trip around the world, which was inspired by Jules Verne's novel "Around the World in Eighty Days." She completed her journey in seventy-two days.
Thank you for leading the way Elizabeth Cochran!