Stargazing

Nellie Bly, trailblazing journalist, honored with Google doodle and song

Extra, extra, read all about it! Today is journalist Nellie Bly’s 150th birthday and Google has honored her with her own musical doodle by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Forgive us if we’re kind of excited that one of our own from the world of journalism is trending on Twitter today.

Bly’s work as a pioneering journalist who went after corrupt bad guys and stood up for those with no voice of their own is discussed today on many websites, including Vox, Time and CNN.

Elizabeth Jane Cochran (Nellie Bly was her pen name) was born in Pittsburgh on May 5, 1864. She got her start as a reporter after writing a letter to the editor of her local paper protesting the misogynistic work of its most popular columnist who called the working woman “a monstrosity.”

The editor hired her and she gained a reputation as a defender of the marginalized – covering slums and the working conditions of young girls, and exposing corruption.

A couple of highlights from her work:

▪ She worked at the New York World for Joseph Pulitzer. In 1889 she traveled around the world in a whirlwind 72 days – beating the fictional record of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days” – and the paper printed daily updates on her journey.

▪ For one of her assignments she posed for 10 days as a mental patient and exposed how patients were beaten and mistreated.

▪ Covering the Chicago Pullman Railroad strike in 1894 she was the only writer to give the strikers’ side of the issue.

And now, 150 years later, she’s trending on social media. A few of our favorite birthday greetings:

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