Nellie Bly

Elizabeth Cochrane

Investigative Journalist

Objective: Report on all of the juicy stuff that people want to hear, but not from research or interviews, from experience, from undercover investigation.

Born: May 05, 1864

Journalist, undercover investigator, author, lecturer, and reformist.


Attended Indiana State Normal School, Indiana, PA.

Professional Experience

reported at Pittsburgh Dispatch (January of 1885 - late 1886).

worked (took very brief break in 1895 to join the staff of the Chicago Times-Herald, but left that position to marry millionaire industrialist Robert Livingston Seaman) at New York World (early 1887 - March 1896).

joined the New York Evening Journal in 1912 after a 16 year hiatus. After the end of world war 1 in 1918, line of work turned from racy reports to a majority being focused towards articles for the advice column.

devoted time since to helping the poor and finding adoptive homes for orphans.

exposing corruption and social wrongs were the mainstay of her career.

Profession Experience (with novels)

wrote, published, and released Ten Days in a Mad-House; or Nellie Bly's Experience on Blackwell's Island. Feigning Insanity in order to Reveal Asylum Horrors, Munro (New York), 1887.

had first written book, Six Months in Mexico, Munro (New York), 1888, finally published and released.

wrote, published, and released third book The Mystery in Central Park, G. W. Dillingham (New York), 1889.

wrote, published, and released Around the World in Seventy-Two Days, Pictorial Weeklies (New York), 1890.


said to be “One of the most famous of America's early investigative reporters, Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, writing under the pen name Nellie Bly, set the standard for investigative reporting in the era of ’yellow journalism.’"

completed the journey around the world in 72 days, a record that would not be bested until the days of air travel.

Around the World in Seventy-Two Days was a best seller.

Press Club Journalism Award Nellie Bly Cub Reporter: (Single winner) Best journalistic effort by an individual with three years professional experience or less.

Articles from Ten Days in a Mad-House, which inspired major reforms in the treatment of the mentally ill, were picked up by all the major papers of the nation, making her name a household word across America.

and many more...


wrote a letter in response to a column in the Pittsburgh Dispatch that caught the eye of managing editor George Madden, who hired her on as that paper's first woman reporter, in January of 1885 (how she received her first job in journalism).

wrote about the Oneida Community, a utopian religious sect, and published interviews with notables of her day, including Belva Lockwood (who was the Woman Suffrage Party's candidate for president).

Outline of Bible Theology! Exacted from a Letter by a Lady to the New York World of 2nd June, 1889

investigative focus was firmly fixed on women's issues. Laurie Delaney noted in the Dictionary of Literary Biography that she "used her column to criticize [her husband] by discussing what a good husband should be like. She covered the National Woman Suffrage Convention in Washington. . . . By March [of 1896] she was proposing to form an army of women to fight in . . . the Spanish-American War."