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Jan. 27, 2020, 12:27 p.m.
Business Models

The 19th, a new nonprofit news site on women and politics, wants to look at policy through a gender lens

“Deep-dive, evidence-based reporting that exposes gender inequity and injustice, and reveals surprising and original stories on the issues that most deeply affect women’s lives, from health care to the economy.”

Emily Ramshaw and Amanda Zamora — formerly the editor-in-chief and chief audience officer of The Texas Tribune, respectively — on Monday announced the soft launch of and more details about The 19th, their previously teased national news nonprofit. It is nonpartisan and will cover “the intersection of gender, politics and policy.”

Emily Ramshaw and Amanda Zamora are launching a national news nonprofit aimed at women and we’re dying to know more ]

“It seems like there was a niche nonprofit newsroom for almost everything, and I wondered to myself why no one had created one at the intersection of women and politics,” Ramshaw told The Washington Post, which will be publishing The 19th’s content until the site fully launches in August.

The 19th’s name refers to the 19th Amendment, which turns 100 this August and granted women the right to vote, though in practice it mostly applied to white women — that’s the reason the site’s logo includes an asterisk. “The 19th provides a great opportunity to talk about all of those tensions and all the work that is still to be done in terms of equity whether it is at the ballot box or beyond,” Zamora told the Post.

Here’s the sort of content The 19th says you can expect:

  • Free-to-consume and free-to-republish journalism that reimagines politics and policy coverage through a gender lens
  • Deep-dive, evidence-based reporting that exposes gender inequity and injustice, and reveals surprising and original stories on the issues that most deeply affect women’s lives, from health care to the economy
  • A digital platform for civil conversations and community building, and national events that bring our readers into direct contact with their elected officials
  • A newsroom that reflects the racial and socioeconomic diversity of American women and is devoted to covering all women with empathy

As for what you won’t find: “Cheap shots or cheerleading. Opinion or false equivalency. Partisanship. Horse-race politics. Turn-of-the-screw stories. Clickbait. (Sorry, not sorry.)”

The 19th is starting out with “nearly $5 million” in funding. That includes $1 million each from Kathryn Murdoch and the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ Reproductive Health and Women’s Rights Collaborative; $500,000 from Craig Newmark Philanthropies; and other substantial amounts from the Ford Foundation, Emerson Collective, Knight Foundation, Abigail Disney, Arnold Ventures, the Packard Foundation, and more.

It’s also launching with a team of five. Ramshaw is co-founder and CEO, Zamora is co-founder and publisher, Andrea Valdez is editor-in-chief, Errin Haines is editor-at-large, and Johanna Derlega is chief revenue officer.

From left: Zamora, Haines, Valdez, Ramshaw, and Derlega.

Open positions — some remote, but mostly based at The 19th’s headquarters in Austin — are here. They give some insight into the topics The 19th will cover; there are currently openings for beat reporters to cover women’s health, women and the economy, and women and Congress — along with a statehouses reporter, two general assignment reporters, a breaking news reporter, and a data visuals reporter. (As well the journalism job of the moment, newsletter editor.)

If all of those positions are filled, The 19th would launch with a staff of 22. That’s significantly smaller than the biggest nonprofit news orgs like ProPublica or The Texas Tribune. But it’s closer to the ballpark of established single-subject sites like InsideClimate News (18), The City (19), The Marshall Project (38), The Intercept (52), Kaiser Health News (54), and Chalkbeat (60).

The 19th’s content will be “be free to consume and free to republish,” per the press release, with revenue coming from “member support, individual philanthropy, foundation grants, corporate sponsorships and live events.” That’s a revenue mix a lot like what The Texas Tribune has been able to thrive on.

Until the site launch, Haines will be writing stories that appear on The Washington Post, which The 19th describes as “our inaugural news partner.”

Today, women make up more than half of the American electorate and are more engaged than ever in our politics — marching on state capitols, voting at higher rates than men, running for local office and seeking the presidency in record numbers. Yet we remain marginalized in government and in the nation’s executive ranks.

Women are also underrepresented in politics and policy journalism and in newsroom leadership, which influences what stories are told, how the news is covered and whose voices are elevated.

POSTED     Jan. 27, 2020, 12:27 p.m.
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