The 19th is an independent nonprofit newsroom reporting at the intersection of gender, race, politics and policy. The 19th launched in 2020, one of the most consequential election years in generations, and nearly a century after the 19th Amendment granted some — but not all — women the right to vote. Its mission is to empower those it serves – particularly women, people of color and anyone marginalized based on their gender or race – with the information, resources and community they need to be equal participants in our democracy.
Its namesake 19th Amendment gave white women the right to vote. It took another four decades for women of color to be extended this fundamental right. Today, many women of color still face voter suppression; so do tens of thousands of transgender Americans who face voter ID barriers at the polls. The asterisk in the logo is a visible reminder of those who have been omitted from our democracy. In short: The 19th is here to serve them.
The founders knew from the start that they couldn’t do that if the newsroom looked like most American newsrooms: Male. White. The 19th was launched in August 2020 with a tiny-but-mighty staff — with extraordinary journalism focused on the lived experiences of women of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community; a weekly newsletter with tens of thousands of subscribers; and a launch summit attended virtually by more than 180,000 people.
The 19th has recruited some of the top and most diverse political reporters and editors in the nation, with an aim at elevating the voices of people who are underrepresented by and under-reflected in American media, specifically women of color and members of the LGBTQ community. This has never been more important than right now, with the disproportionate health and economic effects of this pandemic and of racial injustice on women during one of the most important election cycles. Nearly 70 percent of founding reporters and editors are women of color, and The 19th employs one of the only openly transgender reporters in the nation.
All of The 19th‘s journalism is given away for free, to readers and every other news organization in America. Already, newspapers in 262 regional news markets are running its stories free of charge, and Univision is translating its work into Spanish and distributing it. The 19th landed the front page of USA Today on its first day in business.
The 19th‘s storytelling is independent and intersectional, aimed at bringing people across the racial, ideological and socioeconomic spectrum together for a shared understanding of the obstacles in the way. It was the first national news organization to tell Breonna Taylor’s story, which amplified the #sayhername movement, and early reporting has explored everything from the “she-cession” to COVID-19 outbreaks in women’s prisons to transgender voting rights.
It’s the first newsroom in the country offering six months of fully paid family leave for new parents, four months of fully paid family leave to care for sick relatives, and 100% coverage of health insurance premiums. The 19th is trying to change how the news is reported and presented for underserved communities, by starting with reforming how the news business works.
In short, The 19th has launched a newsroom — amid the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and institutionalized racism — that is majority women of color and is aimed at reaching and reflecting a more diverse audience than ever before. This is being done during a real revolution in what diversity and inclusion looks like for legacy media — and The 19th is doing it from the ground floor.