For too many years, reporting on gender, politics and policy and their effect on overlooked segments of society have not been seen “above the fold.” So The 19th, an independent, nonprofit newsroom, was created and is working hard to push these issues forward.
Founded by Emily Ramshaw and Amanda Zamora (formerly of the Texas Tribune) and taking its name from the 19thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution, The 19th, after just more than a year since its launch, has had to expand its coverage of these issues as they become priorities for more women, women of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized readers.
“The Texas six-week abortion ban is a really huge story for our audience,” said Zamora. “We’re going to be committed to covering that in terms of the impact on people seeking access to abortion but also just the ripple effects that that law is going to have on reproductive health and gender-affirming care overall. I think we’ve also done a good job of covering anti-trans legislation in state houses across the country in a way that I think other news organizations are not doing.”
“It’s good to have a newsroom that’s not anchored in DC or New York or the typical political news power centers,” added Zamora, co-founder and publisher of The 19th. “We really want to center on the communities that are not headlining mainstream news coverage, that have been at the edges of coverage or left out entirely. Our work is just beginning in that regard, and we’re excited to continue it.”
Zamora said The 19th’s staff will continue to report on the pandemic’s effect on women, families and children and plan for future coverage of climate change, immigration and diverse communities.
To cover all these topics, The 19th has been quickly hiring more staff, to a total of 32 staff members by late September. In addition, management has been actively searching for an editor-in-chief and expects to have approximately 40 full-time staff members by the end of 2021. They also manage remote-work operations while their new headquarters are being built in Austin, Texas.
“The model that we’re building here actually counts on our reporting team in particular to be distributed over the long-haul,” said Zamora. “We want to have a newsroom that’s diverse in as many ways as we possibly can: Racially diverse, gender diverse, regionally diverse.”
Another critical element of The 19th news operations is creating collaborative partnerships with more mainstream news outlets. USA Today and The Guardian US are just two examples of publications adding articles from The 19th to their print and digital issues.
According to Zamora, these partnerships benefit both parties: These mainstream publications can share The 19th‘s evidence-based reporting that reimagines politics and policy coverage through a gender lens. In turn, this exposure generates additional traffic, donations and memberships for The 19th and creates opportunities to provide its content to other news operations. Unfortunately, because of newsroom consolidation, many publications don’t have the staff to cover these issues.
“We’re going to continue to be hyper-focused on the fight for voting rights, the lead up to midterms and political power for women of color and LGBTQ+ folks who are seeking elected office at the state and federal level,” said Zamora. “We’re going to be paying really close attention to see how abortion factors into this next round of elections and whether it plays a role in mobilizing women in particular across the ideological spectrum...we’re going to be really interested in seeing how that plays out.”
Bob Sillick has held many senior positions and served a myriad of clients during his 47 years in marketing and advertising. He has been a freelance/contract content researcher, writer, editor and manager since 2010. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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