Event Detail

Sep
18
Saturday
Sep
18
Sat
The Arts :: Book Reading
Sensational: The Hidden History Of America's "Girl Stunt Reporters"
3:00 PM
Online
Description:
3 - 4 pm

Join Sensational author Kim Todd in a conversation with Gwen Florio and Michelle Nijhuis about the writers who influenced the field of journalism across a century, from the Progressive Era “muckraking” of the 1900s to the personal “New Journalism” of the 1960s and ’70s, to the “immersion journalism” and “creative nonfiction” of today. Bold and unconventional, these sensational women changed how people would tell stories forever.

This virtual event is sponsored by Arts Missoula and Montana Press Monthly. It will be recorded by Missoula Access Community Television as part of a Media Assistance Grant donated to the Montana Book Festival by MCAT.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Todd is the award-winning author of several books, including Sensational: The Hidden History of America's “Girl Stunt Reporters”, Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis, and Tinkering with Eden: A Natural History of Exotic Species in America, winner of the PEN/Jerard Award and the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. Her essays and articles have appeared Smithsonian, Salon, Sierra Magazine, Orion, and Best American Science and Nature Writing anthologies, among other publications. She is a member of the MFA faculty at the University of Minnesota and lives in Minneapolis with her family.

In the waning years of the nineteenth century, women journalists across the United States risked reputation and their own safety to expose the hazardous conditions under which many Americans lived and worked. In various disguises, they stole into sewing factories to report on child labor, fainted in the streets to test public hospital treatment, posed as lobbyists to reveal corrupt politicians. Inventive writers whose in-depth narratives made headlines for weeks at a stretch, these “girl stunt reporters” changed laws, helped launch a labor movement, championed women’s rights, and redefined journalism for the modern age.

The 1880s and 1890s witnessed a revolution in journalism as publisher titans like Hearst and Pulitzer used weapons of innovation and scandal to battle it out for market share. As they sought new ways to draw readers in, they found their answer in young women flooding into cities to seek their fortunes. When Nellie Bly went undercover into Blackwell’s Insane Asylum for Women and emerged with a scathing indictment of what she found there, the resulting sensation created opportunity for a whole new wave of writers. In a time of few jobs and few rights for women, here was a path to lives of excitement and meaning.

After only a decade of headlines and fame, though, these trailblazers faced a vicious public backlash. Accused of practicing “yellow journalism,” their popularity waned until “stunt reporter” became a badge of shame. But their influence on the field of journalism would arc across a century, from the Progressive Era “muckraking” of the 1900s to the personal “New Journalism” of the 1960s and ’70s, to the “immersion journalism” and “creative nonfiction” of today. Bold and unconventional, these writers changed how people would tell stories forever.

ABOUT THE MODERATORS
Gwen Florio is the author of the Lola Wicks crime series, the Nora Best Mysteries, and Silent Hearts, a standalone novel set in Afghanistan. A longtime journalist, she won the Pinckley Prize for Debut Crime Fiction and a High Plains Book Award for her first novel, Montana. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

Michelle Nijhuis is a project editor at the Atlantic, a contributing editor at High Country News, and an award-winning reporter whose work has been published in National Geographic and the New York Times Magazine. She is coeditor of The Science Writers’ Handbook and lives in White Salmon, Washington.
Age Group: All Ages
Venue: Online
Address: missoula Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: N/A

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