VIRTUAL: Kim Todd (Sensational) Author Talk and Q&A

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Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop & Café present an author talk and Q&A with Kim Todd for the release of the new book, Sensational: The Hidden History of America's “Girl Stunt Reporters”. Kim will be in conversation with Stephanie Gorton, author of Citizen Reporters.
 This event is free, but registration is required. Registration details are at the bottom of this page.

About the Book

"A gripping, flawlessly researched, and overdue portrait of America’s trailblazing female journalists. Kim Todd has restored these long-forgotten mavericks to their rightful place in American history." — Abbott Kahler, author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy 

A vivid social history that brings to light the “girl stunt reporters” of the Gilded Age who went undercover to expose corruption and abuse in America, and redefined what it meant to be a woman and a journalist—pioneers whose influence continues to be felt today.

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 Kim Todd

Kim Todd's current book project, Sensational: The Hidden History of America's "Girl Stunt Reporters," highlights female undercover journalists who exposed the rot at the heart of the Gilded Age. Based on an article that appeared in Smithsonian’s Secrets of American History issue, it will be published by HarperCollins in April 2021. Earlier books include Sparrow; Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis; and Tinkering with Eden: A Natural History of Exotic Species in America

About Stephanie Gorton

Stephanie Gorton is the author of “Citizen Reporters: S. S. McClure, Ida Tarbell, and the Magazine that Rewrote America” (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020). She has written for NewYorker.com, Smithsonian.com, The Paris Review Daily, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Toast and The Millions, among other venues. Previously, she held editorial roles at Canongate Books, The Overlook Press and Open Road. She lives in Providence and is currently working on a book about the early 20th-century movement to legalize birth control. 

 
Event date: 
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Sensational: The Hidden History of America's “Girl Stunt Reporters” Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062843616
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - April 13th, 2021

"A gripping, flawlessly researched, and overdue portrait of America’s trailblazing female journalists. Kim Todd has restored these long-forgotten mavericks to their rightful place in American history." Abbott Kahler, author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy