Karen Hawkins has journalism in her blood. On her father’s side, her grandfather wrote essays between shifts at the U.S. post office, and her first cousin has spent years as a copy editor and educator. On her mother’s side, well, folks just love to gossip.
Now, Karen will bring that legacy to The 19th as a story editor. As the founder of Rebellious Magazine for Women, a digital media organization based in her hometown of Chicago, Karen has worked to center the voices of women, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people through inclusive and intersectional coverage.
Karen launched Rebellious on International Women’s Day in 2012 as she was leaving her job at The Associated Press, where she covered the criminal court system, public housing, and everything breaking news threw at her.
Most recently, she served as co-publisher and editor-in-chief of the Chicago Reader, a pioneering alternative paper founded in 1971. Under her leadership, the Reader modernized its website, launched the Racial Justice Reporting Hub & Writers Room, and weathered the pandemic with its wits intact.
Her 25-year career in journalism and communications also includes positions at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Windy City Times.
She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she spent four years working for the Daily Illini, and a master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Karen co-hosts the podcast Of Course I’m Not OK about mental health and creativity. She has also served as a proud board member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Karen to the team. Feel free to congratulate her directly at @ChiefRebelle.