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Nellie Bly, born Elizabeth Jane Cochran, made history with her daring exploits as an American journalist. Renowned under her pen name, she went on a groundbreaking journey worldwide in just 72 days, inspired by Jules Verne’s literary character Phileas Fogg.

But many history books overlook how she found a remarkable story through a daring assignment that nobody else would dare to undertake.

It all started when Nellie was desperate to prove herself to the New York World’s owner, Joseph Pulitzer. Bly took on a daring assignment: getting locked inside Blackwell’s Asylum to uncover its hidden horrors. 

Facing the asylum’s strict entry rules, Bly ingeniously feigned insanity and got herself committed. Inside, she witnessed and documented the appalling conditions and mistreatment of patients, ultimately exposing the institution’s atrocities through her writing.

Bly’s series “Ten Days in the Madhouse” catapulted her to fame as one of the nation’s most renowned journalists. Her eye-opening accounts of life inside the asylum shocked readers and prompted reforms to enhance conditions there. Her immersive reporting style laid the foundation for what we now know as investigative journalism.

Beyond her asylum exposé, Bly fearlessly tackled various social issues in New York, shedding light on corruption in the state legislature, exploitation by employment agencies, and the illicit trade of infants. Her direct yet empathetic approach resonated deeply with audiences.

Bly’s courageous act of investigative journalism led to the shutdown of Blackwell’s and paved the way for a new era of reporting. Despite initial disbelief upon revealing her true identity, Bly continued her impactful work at the New York World, leaving an indelible mark on journalism.

Beyond her journalistic feats, Nellie Bly was a multifaceted figure, later venturing into inventing and patenting several innovations, including the oil drum. Her outstanding legacy as a trailblazer and pioneer in investigative journalism continues to inspire to this day.

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