Through a series of conversations with the owner of

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Through a series of conversations with the owner of McClure’s you told him the story of your father losing his wildcat oil well. The owner encouraged you to research and write a story on John Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company. You spoke to your father about this and attempted to persuade you not to do it. He as afraid that there would be large negative repercussions. He feared that Rockefeller was so powerful that he could destroy your magazine and your career. You decided to research the company anyway. You spent two years meticulously digging through reports, tax filings, business deals, contracts etc. You followed and researched the life of Rockefeller. Through this research you set the standard for what investigative journalism should be, a telling of the facts, not opinions, not hyperbole, not just anger and passion, but facts. After the two years, you wrote a 19 part series published over a two year period (1902-1904). You entitled it The History of the Standard Oil Company and it was a sensation. What made such a great writer was your command of language, your attention to specific detail, and your sense of drama. The readers were enthralled and your fame skyrocketed. You became the first of what President Theodore Roosevelt despairingly called muckrakers , saying that journalists like you spent too much time digging around in and pulling out the muck, rather than looking at the beauty of what was happening. What set you apart from other muckrakers was that you were angry at the evil of the Standard Oil Company but wrote respectfully of the genius of J.D. Rockefeller. The last section of your expose was a biographical sketch of Rockefeller himself. You published it as a book in 1904 and it became an immediate bestseller. When Rockefeller began to give portions of his fortune to the poor and to other philanthropic causes, you wrote that he was “hypocrite” and that he was “money mad”, and that he looked like a “living money.” He in turn called you a “poisonous woman” and ordered all those who worked for him, “Do not utter one word to that misguided woman.” Your History of the Standard Oil Company forced congress to launch an investigation into JD Rockefeller and his company. Several years later Standard Oil was deemed a monopoly by the government and forced to break up into 6 separate companies. You considered this your greatest success. Though asked to fight and struggle with Alice Paul and other suffragettes, you refused arguing against the 19th Amendment. You felt that the “woman’s rights movement” had damaged the traditional role of women and felt that women belonged in the private sphere, at home. In 1999, your book on Standard Oil was named one of the top 5 works of journalism in the century. You died in 1944.
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