Winifred Black was born in 1864. After working as an actress in Chicago, Black was recruited by William Randolph Hearst to work for his newspaper the San Francisco Examiner. Hearst wanted Black to carry out a similar role to the one being performed by Nellie Bly for Joseph Pulitzer and the New York World.
Over the next few years Black, using the pseudonym Annie Laurie, carried out a series of undercover investigations in San Francisco. As well as exposing political corruption and city inefficiency, Black reported on the floods in Galveston, the San Francisco earthquake, and the Versailles Peace Conference.
Winifred Black died in San Francisco, in 1936.