Nellie Bly “Nellie Bly Goes Undercover”(1887)

The New York World

“Nellie Bly Goes Undercover” These excerpts are from a series of articles that the flamboyant journalist Nellie Bly published in the New York World in 1887. To build readership for The World, Bly’s editor convinced the twenty-year-old journalist (whose real name was Elizabeth Cochran) to permit herself to be committed for one week to Blackwell’s Island, a notorious insane asylum in New York City. From this vantage point Bly reported–undercover–on the conditions endured by the asylum’s patients. In an age in which relatively few middle-class women worked outside the home at all, let alone in the rough-and-tumble world of journalism, Bly stood out. Although Bly was not the first reporter to assume a false identity, her reporting did much to popularize undercover reporting as a journalistic technique. Go here to view article

 

Margaret Fuller “Letter XXIII, from Rome” (1848)

The New York Tribune

“Letter XXIII, from Rome” Fuller was a formidable intellectual, a poet, critic, editor, Transcendentalist, and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Sent to Europe by Horace Greeley, editor of the influential New York Tribune, Fuller turned in regular dispatches in the form of letters that described the scenery she saw, the people she met, and the events she witnessed, including the struggles for Italian independence and the establishment of the short-lived Roman Republic.

(CU only)

Harriet Beecher Stowe “Public Opinion Formed by Education?” (1853)

Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin

“Public Opinion Formed by Education?” Popular writer Harriet Beecher Stowe earned enormous renown for Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a melodramatic fictional account of the travails of slavery first published in 1852. To rebut the charge that she had made up many of the horrific details about slavery that she dramatized, she published a Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin one year later. This excerpt from Stowe’s Key demonstrates the care that Stowe took in corroborating her claims. Among her most important sources were the many articles that she culled from newspapers originally published in the slaveholding states. Go here to view article

 

Susan Brownmiller “On Goosing” (1971)

“On Goosing” The Village Voice is a New York City-based newspaper founded in 1955 by, among others, Norman Mailer, was one of the most influential alternative papers during the ’60s and ’70s. Brownmiller was at the forefront of Women’s Rights Movement in the 1970s. Brownmiller’s article spoke out against the socially acceptable behavior surrounding the sexual assault of women. She one of the organizers of a seminal January 1971 anti-rape “speak-out” event. Her publication, “Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape” is recognized as her most famous work.

Nellie Bly “Nellie Bly Goes Undercover” (1887)

These excerpts are from a series of articles that the flamboyant journalist Nellie Bly published in the New York World in 1887. To build readership for The World, Bly’s editor convinced the twenty-year-old journalist (whose real name was Elizabeth Cochran) to permit herself to be committed for one week to Blackwell’s Island, a notorious insane asylum in New York City. From this vantage point Bly reported–undercover–on the conditions endured by the asylum’s patients. In an age in which relatively few middle-class women worked outside the home at all, let alone in the rough-and-tumble world of journalism, Bly stood out. Although Bly was not the first reporter to assume a false identity, her reporting did much to popularize undercover reporting as a journalistic technique. Go here to view article

First Newspaper (Boston)