World War I
Nellie Bly - First Female War Correspondent

Nellie Bly - First Female War Correspondent
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.04

     challenging words:    firsthand, correspondent, journalism, burning, asylum, spokesperson, cultural, undercover, controversy, educational, impressed, writing, fiction, social, divorce, lifetime
     content words:    Nellie Bly, Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, Jane Cochrane, Girls Are Good For, Stephen Foster, New York, In Mexico, Joseph Pulitzer, New York World, Jules Verne

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Nellie Bly - First Female War Correspondent
By Jane Runyon

1     Sometimes being the first person to do something can bring you great honors. Nellie Bly was a woman who accomplished many firsts in her lifetime. Many of these feats had been accomplished by men. She happened to be the first woman to even try some of the feats.
2     Nellie Bly was not her given name. She was born Elizabeth Jane Cochrane in the middle 1860s. She was one of fifteen children born to her parents in Pennsylvania. Her father died when she was only six years old. This left her mother to try to raise all fifteen children on her own. The task was not easy. Elizabeth Jane Cochrane learned early in life that life was not always fair. She was not a particularly good student in school. She did, however, have a burning desire to be a writer. She left home at the age of sixteen to make her own way in the world. It didn't take her long to discover that women could not expect to get jobs that paid very well. At this time in history, it was still believed that men were the breadwinners and deserved to have the jobs that paid well.
3     One day Elizabeth read an article in a Pittsburgh newspaper that made her very angry. This article was entitled "What Girls Are Good For." The writer believed that women were placed on Earth to clean the house and take care of the children. Elizabeth sent a letter to the editor of the newspaper protesting the article and all that it said. The editor of the paper was very impressed with the way Elizabeth could express herself. He was so impressed that he offered her a job as a journalist on the paper. Her first assignment was to write a series of articles about the lives of women. In those days it was not considered proper for a lady to write for a newspaper using her own name. Elizabeth chose the pen name, Nellie Bly. This was a name she had heard in an old Stephen Foster song.

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