Nellie Bly: a Pioneer in Women's Journalism Tajmina Akter Arelis Cruz 8-3
The Alpha Elizabeth Jane Cochran otherwise known as the famous Nellie Bly fell from heaven and was given life on May 5, 1854 in Cochran’s Mills, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Nellie happened to be the daughter of a former wealthy justice who died leaving six year old Elizabeth all alone and filled with sadness. Her sorrow was so great it tasted like bitter medicine on her tongue, which was a sharp contrast of the candy-sweetness of her childhood. Because of her father’s death it inspired her to take action in the women’s rights movement. By taking action she testified against her abusive, violent, and drunken stepfather at the age of fourteen. Her stepfather reminded her of times so terrible they could make a person's skin crawl and reopen any wound. After that, Bly and her family moved to Pittsburgh in 1880. Bly was in charge of helping her mother, Mary Jane Cochrane, raise her fifteen siblings. With a family that large, one can just imagine the noise of kids running around the hallways, writing on the walls, and crying at night. She attended a boarding school for one term but could not continue attending because she was unable to pay. Although she only went to school for one term, she developed a great love for writing. Her passion was so bright that it was like a sun shining after a long spell of cloudiness in her daily life. Therefore, Nellie Bly who had such a vivid imagination led her to be a journalist that made a big impact in the world.
PaperGirl. Nellie Bly, also known as Elizabeth, did many things in order for women to be treated fairly. At first, Nellie read a sexist article and was asked to join the newspaper staff. She had a menial job on a newspaper then went on to become known as "the best reporter in America”, that grasped a lot of readers. An author named Jules Verne's wrote a fictional story about a woman who traveled around the world in 80 days. Because of Verne’s book, Nellie decided she should do it for real. She asked her editor, and the trip was granted; she finished the trip within seventy - two days. Her record was held until a man beat it, but she was still the first to do it. In another report, she protested the imprisonment of a local journalist for criticizing the Mexican government, then a dictatorship under Porfirio Díaz. They threatened her with arrest, prompting her to leave the country. In her life, she got married once. When her husband died, she took over his business. Nellie was a leading female industrialist, but she didn't manage things well and was forced into bankruptcy. Nellie not only did that, she played the role of a mentally ill person in order to get inside the mental ward of this hospital and report on the cruelty and neglect taking place in this Asylum. Most women wrote about fashion, gardening and other such things because it was an usual role for women back then, but she refused. Instead, she wrote problems of working women, writing a series of investigative articles on female factory workers. Bly wrote reports of brutality and neglect at the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island. Thus, Nellie Bly was a courageous pioneer that overcame many odds to become a respected investigative journalist.
In Nellie’s Honor Although Nellie Bly is no longer alive, she should still be admired for her famous expose. This expose should be remembered because she risked the only life she had to save women. Since she wanted women to have rights; it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get the freedom they needed. Even though women didn’t have rights at the time, Bly did whatever she had to do to get her point across. During her expose she pretended to be a poor sweatshop worker, otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to actually see how they treat women. Because she stood up for what she believed in and was able to make a difference with what she did, Bly should always be remembered. Therefore, a person willing to risk their life should be cherished.
Sources Schneir, Miriam. "Bly, Nellie." World Book Online Reference Center. 2009. 19 March 2009 <http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar066750>. "Nellie Bly." Kids Almanac. 2007. Factmonster. March 21, 2009 <http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0878617.html>. Gazillo, Rosemary. "Nellie Bly." 1998. March 31, 2009 <http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/386/nellie.html>.