Happy Birthday Elizabeth Jane Cochran!
Elizabeth Cochran, who went by the pen name Nellie Bly, was born on May 5th of 1864. At a young age it was apparent that Cochran had an independent spirit and was not afraid to speak up for what she believed in. While living in Pittsburgh, Cochran responded to a newspaper columnist who had written that “women belonged in the home”. The paper became impressed with her fire, hired her. Her first story was about the difficulties working girls at the time faced, an issue she was all too familiar with.
Later in her career, in an attempt to impress a New York City editor, Cochran pretended to be mentally ill in order to be admitted to a mental institution and write undercover. This piece was the beginning of a new investigative journalism. She used her techniques to expose the truth behind, “poverty, revealing shady lobbyists, the ways in which women prisoners were treated by police, the in adequate medical care given to the poor, and much more”.
What many describe as what she is best known for is her record-breaking trip around the world. Cochran wanted to beat the fictional character, Jules Verne’s from “Around the World in Eighty Days”. And she did. In 72 days Cochran was able to circle the world via ship, train, and burro.
Here is to you Elizabeth Cochran! Thank you for your brave journalism and go get em attitude!