Journalistic Acts of Race, Class, Ethnic and Gender Impersonation

'The World' newspaper article with graphic of crowded tenements.

Media History

The reporting was intended for these media types: Magazine, Newspaper, Book

"A Night in a Workhouse" - James Greenwood - Pall Mall Gazette

How the Poor Are Treated in Lambeth! The Casual Paper! "Old Daddy," The Nurse; The Bath! The Conversation of the Casuals! The Striped Shirt! The Swearing Club ! ! "Skiley" and "Toke" by Act of Parliament" ! The Adventures of a Young Thief! &c, &c, &c


 ". . . This mysterious figure was that of the present writer. He was bound for Lambeth workhouse, there to learn by actual experience how casual paupers are lodged and fed, and what the 'casual' is like, and what the porter who admits him, and the master who rules over him; and how the night passes with the outcasts whom we have all seen rowding about workhouse doors on cold and rainy nights. Much has been said on the subject -- on behalf of the paupers -- on behalf of the officials; but nothing by any one who, with no motive but to learn and make known the truth, had ventured the experiment of passing a night in a workhouse, and trying what it actually is to be casual. . . . "  

"Begging as an Avocation" - Viola Roseboro - New York World

An Adventurous Woman Goes Out Asking Alms in the Street; She Borrows Some Old Clothes; Sneaks Out of the House and Faces the World; Sixty-three Cents for a Half Day's Toil; Not a Very Hard Business; Men Didn't Contribute but Women Were Victims


"I went begging. I don't mean I got contributions to buy red flannels for the wild Africana, or sold tickets for a benefit to be given in aid of the widows and oprhans of deceased messenger boys, but that I went begging on the street in rags. I did it to find out what begging as a profession is like. ... "

"A Month in the Workhouse" - W. P. H. - New York World

A "World" Reporter's Experience on Blackwells's Island - He Simulates Drunkenness and Is Sent Up for Thirty Days - Loathsome Condition of the Sleeping Cells - How the Bakery Gang Makes Sickening Bread - No Baths Allowed and Everybody is Unclean


"For a man who has never experienced what it is to be cribbed, cabined and confined, it is no light matter to be subjected to the machine-like direction of those who appear to be selected for the discharge of their duties principally because of their stolid indifference to all the claims and instincts of humanity."

"Jolly at the French Ball" - Nellie Bly - New York World

Nellie Bly Tells of the Frolics and Breeziness After Midnight


"I went to the French Ball fully prepared to be terribly shocked. But I wasn't. If I had never been to the seashore and witnessed the bathing, or to the opera-house and seen the occupants of the boxes, I might have been. . ."

"In the Biggest New York Tenement" - Nellie Bly - New York World

Nellie Bly Spends the Two Hottest Days of the Year in the Largest "Double Decker" in Town; 3,532 People in the Block; One Family Occupying Only Three Rooms Have Eight Boarders and Lodgers; Sleeping on the Fire-Escapes; No Scenes of Disturbance or DIsorder Among the Throngs of Over-Crowded Tenants; Strange Phases of Life in a Big City; An Interesting Chat with the Janitress of the Big Double-Decker Tenement House


"The Burning of Jim McIlherron: An N.A.A.C.P. Investigation" - Walter F. White - The Crisis


"Estill Spring, the scene of the third within nine months of Tennessee's burnings at the stake, is sitgauted about seventy-four miles from Chattanooga, being midway between the city and Nashville . . ."

"I Investigate Lynchings" - Walter F. White - American Mercury


"Nothing contributes so much to the continued life of an investigator of lynchings and his tranquil possession of all his limbs as the obtuseness of the lynchers themselves."

"Bronx Slave Market" - Ella Baker and Marvel Cooke - The Crisis


"The Bronx Slave Market! What is it? Who are its dealers? Who are its victims? What are its causes? How far does its stench spread? What forces are at work to counteract it?"

"Skin Deep; Reliving 'Black Like Me': My Own Journey into the Heart of Race-Conscious America" - Joshua Solomon - Washington Post


"In February I left my parents' house to move in with my brother in Baltimore, not wanting to have to explain my change of complexion to the neighbors. I began taking six Psorien pills a day. After four sessions at a tanning salon, my face was badly swollen and my body ached. A week or so later, my brother, Jon, and I drove home to Silver Spring for dinner. The change in my skin color must have been dramatic. My 9-year-old sister screwed her face into a horrible grimaced the first time she saw me. 'You're ugly!' she cried. I wanted o smack her but realized she was not really talking about me. . . . "

"Layers of Truth and Life in Iraq" - Borzou Daragahi - Los Angeles Times

Out of the War Zone After 4 1/2 Years, a Times Reporter Looks Back on the Disguises of Reality It Took to Get the Story and Survive


". . .We were in a mostly Shiite Muslim part of the country, so I stuck to my cover story: I was an Iranian headed to Najaf, one of the thousands of Shiite pilgrims who make their way there each month to pay their respects at the shrine of Imam Ali.He demanded to see my passport. To my surprise and terror, he thumbed through it. Then he calmly looked up and asked, "Where's your entry stamp?" I had no answer. I had entered Iraq with my U.S. passport, which I wouldn't dare bring with me on the road. I froze. Since first arriving in Iraq 4 1/2 years ago, first as a freelance reporter and then as the Los Angeles Times bureau chief, I had kept up the pretense that I was playing it safe. . ."