More than a decade before the American Civil War, Amelia Bloomer, a women’s rights advocate, took the bold step of creating The Lily, the first newspaper in the United States edited by and for women. Though the paper folded in 1856 after just a seven-year run, its impact was substantial enough to be utilized as inspiration for the Washington Post’s new female-centric digital product of the same name.
The Lily, which is expected to launch later this year, will design and edit content specifically for mobile and social platforms with a female millennial audience in mind.
“We already reach a lot of millennial women, but want to deepen our engagement with this group. The Post is full of expert storytellers creating high quality journalism, though great content needs a smart distribution strategy,” said Amy King, editor of The Lily. “Experimenting with new platforms is critical to the sustainability of journalism. If readers can’t find the content, it doesn’t matter how high the quality is.”
King says that research has shown that the majority of millennial women get their news from social platforms on mobile devices. The Lily will initially appear on Medium, Facebook and Instagram while maintaining its own editorial staff.
“The original Lily was created to advocate and be a voice for issues important to women,” King said. “Similarly, I’m hoping we can incorporate many voices and perspectives into this.”
A large portion of the content will come from existing Post content—reimagined in style, format and voice. There will also be original content from Post staff and contributors that highlights diverse voices on topics important to women. Additionally, a twice-weekly newsletter will be sent to its readers, presenting highly curated news and features in their inbox.
The Lily is the brainchild of the paper’s Emerging News Products team, where King currently serves as design director.
“Our team encourages experimentation. We have a reputation for solving problems creatively and quickly,” King said. “Other departments see the successes of our efforts and come to us to collaborate.”
Though The Lily has yet to formally launch, King acknowledged that the planning process has been relatively smooth, with the anticipation of its release being perhaps the most challenging aspect involved with the project.
“There’s an eagerness to start telling stories and see how they resonate with our audience. We want this to be a community, so we will be actively looking for feedback, participating in the discussion, and learning from our interactions,” King said. “So if anything we are excited to start that process.”