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The 10 best newspaper scoops - in pictures

The Guardian has been praised for its role in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Here are some other great front-page exposés, from child prostitution to MPs on the fiddle
Bill Kain
Bill Kain • 1 year ago

Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Jane Cochran, above) was a 23-year-old journalist without a job when she walked into the offices of Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World in 1887 and was given the daunting assignment of exposing the horrors of the Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum. She rehearsed feverishly. She played mad. “Undoubtedly demented… a hopeless case,” said one of the doctors who admitted her. But inside the asylum she chronicled the awful food and awful conditions that spurred reform.

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1890 - Nellie Bly; Journalist; worked for the New York World; she took an undercover assignment to investigate reports of brutality & neglect at Women's Lunatic Asylum, Blackwell's Island (now, Roosevelt Island) by straatis, via Flickr

Nellie Bly may be the most recognized name on this list, but she was born Elizabeth Cochran. Her adventures came about due to her work for the New York World paper. This was the age of ‘stunt’ journalism, and Bly’s first report was to be an exposé of a women’s lunatic asylum. Pretending to be demented, Bly was admitted and experienced the lot of the patients confined on the island. The food was rancid, the nurses brutal, and the asylum hardly fit for humans.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton - USA - 1848: Stanton was an American social activist, abolitionist, and leading figure of the early women's rights movement. Her Declaration of Sentiments, presented at the first women's rights convention held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, is often credited with initiating the first organized women's rights and women's suffrage movements in the United States. #womens #history #women in #politics

Nellie Bly entered Blackwell's island Asylum in 1887 under the guise of insanity under assignment from Joseph Pulitzer. She wrote, "From the moment I entered the insane ward on the Island, I made no attempt to keep up the assumed role of insanity. I talked and acted just as I do in ordinary life. Yet strange to say, the more sanely I talked and acted, the crazier I was thought to be by all...." Her book Ten Days in a Mad-House, resulted in a grand jury investigation

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Haunted Severalls Lunatic Asylum. This Edwardian-era asylum was opened in 1913 to house as many as 2000 patients around what was known as the “Echelon plan” – an interconnected network of wards, offices and services within easy reach of one another. Chillingly, doctors were free to experiment seemingly at will and Severalls saw the use of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) and even frontal lobotomy as late as the 1950s.

Nellie Bly, pioneer female journalist. She wrote about life in Mexico, feigned madness to investigate reports of brutality and neglect at the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island, and travelled around the world in less than 80 days.

Nellie Bly - she talked her way into the offices of Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, the New York World, and took an undercover assignment for which she agreed to feign insanity to investigate reports of brutality and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.