Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on World Architecture, Travel, Photography, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Political cartoons, Craft Beer, All things Espresso, International coffee/ cafe's, occasional centrist politics and San Diego's Historic North Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Monday, August 10, 2015
MEDIA MONDAY / BREATHLESS COVERAGE OF NELLIE BLY
[Editor’s note: Two reports—more than
a century apart—discuss New York Evening World reporter Nellie Bly [1864-1922].Note the differences in reportage.In 1889, the reporter charged with a page 1
story for the Evening World worked hard at getting himself into the story.His breathless coverage of what Nellie Bly
wore on the day she departed on her journey around the world in less than 80
days is far more detailed than today’s fashion magazines.But that was 1889 and after all as he
explains he “is only a man.”]
Nellie Bly Circled the Globe
Library of Congress
does it take to travel all the way around the world? Reporter Nellie Bly found
out. On January 25, 1890, police cleared a path through a cheering crowd as Bly
stepped off a train in New York just 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14
seconds after setting sail to prove she could circle the globe in less than 80
In the then
popular book Around the World in Eighty
Days by Jules Verne its hero, Phileas T. Fogg, travels around the globe in
precisely 80 days. Bly, born Elizabeth Cochrane, said she could do it in less
time. Bly traveled by ship, train, jinrikisha (a seat on wheels pulled by a
man), sampan (a small riverboat), horse, and donkey to make it. Her newspaper,
the Joseph Pulitzer owned New York
Evening World, carried daily articles about her journey and offered a trip
to Europe to the person who could come closest to guessing her finish time. The
Evening World, sponsors of Bly’s journey,received nearly 1 million entries and sold more copies than ever before.
Miss Bly was
no stranger to taking risks. Once, pretending to be insane, she had herself
committed to an asylum in New York for ten days so she could expose the
horrible conditions there. Her newspaper articles on the asylum, and later
reports on slum life, inspired people to change these conditions. She also
helped to pave the way for women in journalism.
Day of Departure.From The New York World—Evening
Edition, November 14, 1889.Page
wept in my life, but I came very near having a good cry when I bade my mother
good-by,” said Miss Nellie Bly to an Evening World reporter, as she stood on
the hurricane deck of the Hamburg steamship Victoria Augusta this morning.
sailed away from New York this morning, bound for—New York.
She will put
a girdle ‘round the earth, and will see all climates and peoples ere she
give thanks at Ismailia and spend Christmas in Hong Kong.
The new year
will dawn upon her at Yokohama, in the land of the Mikado, and on Jan. 22
 her great brown eyes will look again upon her native land and will enter
Columbia’s domain by the Golden Gate.
A five days’
ride across this broad continent, and the spirited, plucky and adventurous
little Bly will touch the soil of this metropolis, after a complete journey
around the globe.
World reporter who bade Miss Bly good-by this morning is only a man, and as he
surveyed the slight, willowy, girlish figure of the little circumnavigator clad
in a close-fitting traveling gown of dark blue camel’s hair plaited with a soft
golden stripe, with here and there a stray thread of red, and a dark blue waist
with puffed sleeves, it fairly took his breath away.
the wide-eyed, girlish face, and found it full of smiles and with just the
faintest business-like knitting of the smooth low brow.The braid of black hair, doubled on the neck
and tied with a bit of ribbon, and one of those absurd little tourists’ caps in
fawn-colored check, with useless ear-laps tied over the crown, completed the
“Can I be of
any service to you, Miss Bly?” suggested the reporter, adding: “To get your
luggage aboard or---?
‘luggage’ is aboard, thank you.I
brought it on myself.It is down in my
Miss Bly Makes Her Will.
that reminds me.I want you to witness
my will.I don’t expect anything to
happen: but then if something should happen, you know.”
reporter, H.C. Jarrett and another gentleman followed the fair traveler down to
the stateroom in solemn procession.
seemed the thing to be solemn to these three men, either of them many years
older than the girlish testatrix, and at least two of them old enough to be her
wrote her name in signature, and then the witnesses signed it, too.The contents of this will were a secret, but
the reporter saw the last word, which was the only one on the last line.
Editor’s note:At the very end of the 1889 article excerpted
above, the itinerary of Nellie Bly’s stunt is finally published, but not before
we learned now old the men were who witnessed the signing of her will.It’s much too easy to make continued fun of
the Evening World’s coverage by clicking the address posted below: