The first Investigative Reporter was non other than James Gordon Bennett of New York, NY, USA, a Scottish born founder and editor of the daily New York Herald. In April 1836 he began to write a series of articles about the murder of Ellen Jewett, a prostitute.
He made many return visits to the crime scene. while there, the police allowed him to view the victim’s body and to check through her belongings. He also interviewed people who knew the victim. James Gordon Bennett concluded that the man accused of the murder was innocent (in fact, the accused man was acquitted). It turns out, real killer was a woman who lived in the same house as Ellen Jewett.
The New York Herald enjoyed a steep rise in circulation as a result of James Gordon Bennett articles.
James Gordon Bennett
New York, NY, USA
- James Gordon Bennett Sr. – Wikipedia
James Gordon Bennett Sr. (September 1, 1795 – June 1, 1872) was the founder, editor and publisher of the New York Herald and a major figure in the history of American newspapers.
- Helen Jewett – Wikipedia
Helen Jewett (October 18, 1813 – April 10, 1836) was an upscale New York City prostitute whose murder, along with the subsequent trial and acquittal of her alleged killer, Richard P. Robinson, generated an unprecedented amount of media coverage.
- The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of a Prostitute in …
April 9 of 1836 was an unseasonably cold Saturday night in New York City, coming at the end of the coldest and longest winter of the early nineteenth century.
- Murder of Helen Jewett | Media Sensation in 1836 – ThoughtCo
The April 1836 murder of Helen Jewett, a prostitute in New York City, was an early example of a media sensation. The newspapers of the day ran lurid stories about the case, and the trial of her accused killer, Richard Robinson, became the focus of intense attention.