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Olcott volunteered to cover the hanging of John Brown for the New York Tribune when the newspaper's regular correspondent had to flee under threat of Southern ire at his dispatches. He posed as a member of the Petersburg Grays, one of the regiments sent to Charles Town to guard Brown's body.

Redpath inaugurated a "Facts of Slavery" column for the New York Tribune, curating slave sale information from the Southern press, and later went South to interview slaves so they could have a forum for relating their experiences in their own words. He later took jobs at Southern newspapers and surreptitiously sent reports back north in the guise of letters to relatives in Minnesota. They, in turn, under prior arrangement, forwarded the reports to editors.

The popular humorist and New York Tribune columnist used the undercover ruse often in his newspaper work. In this instance, he visited a number of New York purveyors of "the black arts" and exposed their cons.

Journalists from the United States and Australia get inside the post-Civil War practice of recruiting Pacific Islanders to work the world's non-U.S. plantations on extended contracts of indenture.

George Morrison was a twenty-year-old Australian medical student looking for an adventurous diversion after failing his intermediate exam. He self-styled an assignment to see how the labor trade of Queensland worked in 1882, signing on to sail as an ordinary seaman aboard the Lavinia.Three months later, the ship returned from its "blackbirding" expedition with a new batch of recruits from the New Hebrides and Banks. Morrison wrote an eight-part travelogue for The Leader, and later, provided a more critical view for The Age