Though she was most famous for her films and books, Nora Ephron, who died at 71 on Tuesday, actually started her career as a journalist.

As she wrote in New York magazine in 2010, she moved to New York City in 1962 and set out immediately to be a journalist. An interviewer at Newsweek told her women never became writers at the magazine, and she was hired as a mail girl instead.

It was a newspaper strike that provided her with a fateful opportunity:

The famous 114-day newspaper lockout began, and Victor [Navasky] got some money to put out parodies of the New York Post and the New York Daily News. I did a parody of Leonard Lyons’s gossip column, and the Post offered me a tryout for a reporting job. I was hired after a week, and I couldn’t believe it: I felt that I’d achieved my life’s ambition and I was only 21. Of course, once you get what you want, you eventually want something else, but all I wanted right then was to be a newspaper reporter and I was.

Ephron worked at the Post for five years. "I covered everything there was to cover," she said in an interview. "I covered politics and murders and trials and movie stars and president's daughters' weddings. It was a very small staff. There was a lot of news."

Ephron then began branching out, writing essays and longer features for magazines like Esquire and New York. She eventually shifted firmly from being a journalist to being an essayist, novelist and screenwriter.

Ephron's four-year marriage to Carl Bernstein, one half of the famed Watergate reporting team, also kept her at the center of the journalistic world. His philandering ways led her to write "Heartburn," a thinly veiled novel about the breakdown of their marriage. It was later turned into a movie with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

Ephron also played a role in one of the longest-running mysteries in journalism: the identity of Deep Throat, the top-secret Watergate source.

Writing in The Huffington Post in 2005, just after he was revealed to be Mark Felt, Ephron said that she had guessed Deep Throat's identity decades ago:

I knew that Deep Throat was Mark Felt because I figured it out. Carl Bernstein, to whom I was married for a brief time, certainly would never have told me; he was far too intelligent to tell me a secret like that. He refused to tell his children too, who are also my children, so I told them, and they told others, and even so, years passed and no one really listened to any of us.

Though she eventually left journalism behind, Ephron reflected on the spell it had once cast over her in her 2010 memoir, "I Remember Nothing."

"For many years I was in love with journalism," she wrote. "I loved the pack. I loved smoking and drinking Scotch and playing dollar poker. I didn’t know much about anything, and I was in a profession where you didn’t have to. I loved the deadlines. I loved the speed. I loved that you wrapped the fish."

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  • Nora Ephron

    Actress Marcia Gay Harden and writer Nora Ephron speak at the 55th Annual Writers Guild of America Awards at the Pierre Hotel March 8, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)

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    Cherry Jones and Nora Ephron join Diane Lane at a luncheon celebrating her New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for her role in 'Unfaithful' at the Four Season's in New York City. January 14, 2003. Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect

  • Nora Ephron

    Honorees James Schamus, Martin Scorsese, Nora Ephron and Executive Director of WGA East Mona Mangan pose together at the 55th Annual Writers Guild of America Awards at the Pierre Hotel March 8, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)

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    Writer/director Nora Ephron and writer Nicholas Pileggi arrive at the 101 Greatest Screenplays gala reception at the Writers Guild Theater on April 6, 2006 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

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    Actress Mary Lynn Rajskub, actor Chris Messina, director Nora Ephron, actresses Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and producer Laurence Mark arrive at the special screening of Columbia Pictures' 'Julie & Julia' held at Mann Village Theatre on July 28, 2009 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    Director Nora Ephron, actresses Meryl Streep, and Amy Adams arrive at the special screening of Columbia Pictures' 'Julie & Julia' held at Mann Village Theatre on July 28, 2009 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    US actors Stanley Tucci, Meryl Streep, US director Nora Ephron and US actor Chris Messina pose during the photocall of the movie 'Julie and Julia' directed by US Nora Ephron on September 5, 2009 at the 35th American Film Festival, in Deauville, northwestern France. AFP PHOTO / MYCHELE DANIAU (Photo credit should read MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Producer Amy Robinson, actor Stanley Tucci, actress Meryl Streep, actress Amy Adams, actor Chris Messina, and writer/director Nora Ephron attend the 'Julie & Julia' premiere after party at Metropolitan Club on July 30, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    Actress Amy Adams and writer Nora Ephron attend the 'Julie & Julia' premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on July 30, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    Martha Stewart and writer Nora Ephron attend the 'Julie & Julia' premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on July 30, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    US director Nora Ephron (L) arrives with US actors Stanley Tucci (2ndL), Meryl Streep and Chris Messina for the screening of her movie 'Julie and Julia' on September 5, 2009 at the 35th American Film Festival, in Deauville, northwestern France. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    US director Nora Ephron (L) arrives with US actors Meryl Streep and Chris Messina for the screening of her movie 'Julie and Julia' on September 5, 2009 at the 35th American Film Festival, in Deauville, northwestern France. AFP PHOTO / MYCHELE DANIAU (Photo credit should read MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Nora Ephron

    Playwright Nora Ephron, Rosie O�Donnell and Playwright Delia Ephron attend the after party for the Off Broadway opening night of 'Love, Loss and What I Wore' at Bryant Park Grill on October 1, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

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    U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and writer/director Nora Ephron attend the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit at Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 4, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time Inc.)

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    Actress Zoe Kazan and director Nora Ephron attend the Juror Welcome Lunch At The 2011 Tribeca Film Festival at Tribeca Lofts on April 21, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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    Nora Ephron and Arianna Huffington attend TechCrunch Disrupt New York May 2011 at Pier 94 on May 23, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/Getty Images for AOL)

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    Actress Meryl Streep (R) poses with award recipient Director Nora Ephron at the 2011 Directors Guild Of America Honors at the Directors Guild of America Theater on October 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

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    Lesley Stahl (R) interviews Nora Ephron (L) on SiriusXM's "The wowOwow Radio Show" at SiriusXM Studio on April 11, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)