Nellie Bly, Pioneering Female Journalist

Nicholas C. Rossis

Nellie Bly | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Nellie Bly. Photo: Library of Congress

With all the controversy surrounding fake media and fake news, it’s easy to forget that real journalism not only has existed for a long time but has many forgotten heroes. One of them is Elizabeth Cochrane, a pioneering female journalist who’s finally getting her dues.

As The Washington Post reports, Nellie Bly, as Elizabeth’s pen name was, volunteered for an assignment so horrific that no one else had dared attempt: to infiltrate the notorious mental asylum on Blackwell’s Island and expose the abuses there. She had no guarantee she’d be able to leave and no way of entering except as an inmate.

Pulitzer’s Assignment

After working for the Pittsburgh Dispatch for a few years, Bly got her most dangerous assignment yet: to infiltrate the infamous asylum. Joseph Pulitzer himself gave it to her after she blustered her way into his offices and promised…

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