On January 27, 2020, when we first shared The 19th with the world, we were bracing for a wildly consequential presidential election, one that seemed to put our very democracy at stake.
Our work — critical reporting at the intersection of gender, politics and policy — had never felt more needed. Our audiences — women and LGBTQ+ people, particularly those from underrepresented communities — had never felt more overlooked.
But what we predicted would be a busy news cycle instead became a relentless one that would extend through our first three years.
A global pandemic. The killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The Capitol insurrection. The first woman — and first woman of color — vice president. The overturning of Roe v. Wade. The assault on LGBTQ+ rights nationwide.
All of this happened against the backdrop of a fast-eroding news industry, with dramatic layoffs, heartbreaking closures, and far fewer reporters holding the powerful to account, let alone bringing diverse and representative coverage to American newsrooms.
Throughout it all, The 19th remains a true bright spot — thanks to the commitment and support of our readers and members. On our fourth birthday, we’re reflecting on the work that you’ve made possible.
Our year in review
Over the past year, we published more than 600 stories, from accountability journalism that led an anti-abortion Arizona judge to recuse himself from a critical reproductive rights case, to a years-long investigation into allegations of druggings at a politically prominent Los Angeles LGBTQ+ club.
We won our first Online Journalism Award for breaking news coverage in the aftermath of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision.
Our free distribution model led our stories to be republished hundreds of times, in national outlets like the PBS NewsHour and HuffPost; local outlets like MinnPost and Connecticut Mirror; and community- and issue-specific outlets like Capital B News and Inside Climate News.
Our “total journalism reach” — a metric we’ve developed to represent the number of times our stories, events, newsletters and other news products were engaged with or consumed by our audience — exceeded 9 million. We hosted a dozen in-person events in cities like Chicago and Phoenix, featuring luminaries and newsmakers like Eva Longoria and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff.
And we gained thousands of new followers — and saw some 20 million impressions — across our social media and video streaming platforms. (By the way, you can now find The 19th on Apple News and Samsung News!)
We also celebrated the world premiere of “Breaking the News,” a documentary about the vibrant and tumultuous early days of The 19th, and welcomed the second cohort of fellows to our Frances Ellen Watkins Harper fellowship program.
In the last year we intentionally stepped out of “start-up” mode and into “sustainability” mode, adding two new staffers and growing from 54 to 56 people, 60 percent of whom are BIPOC and nearly 40 percent LGBTQ+. We’ll extend that growth by another couple of employees this year.
On that sustainability note: To date we’ve raised nearly $50 million in service of our journalism from more than 14,000 different donors. And we’ve continued to do our level best to care for our team, including providing six months of fully paid parental leave and four months of caregiver/elder care leave.
‘Unfinished business’ in 2024
Yet The 19th’s work, like our democracy, remains “unfinished business” — our team’s rallying cry for 2024.
As we enter another seismic election year, we aim to, as our colleague Errin Haines so eloquently writes, “leave behind a more honest, inclusive and accurate record of who and where we are as a country.”
We will do that through ambitious campaign coverage that centers voters, not candidates.
Through new products like Errin’s Amendment newsletter, which aims to serve an expanded electorate.
Through new experiments with republishing, distribution and social media platforms that allow us to reach the widest-possible audiences, where those readers and viewers already are.
And by embarking on The 19th’s first-ever strategic planning process, to ensure our newsroom stays relevant, sustainable and stands the test of time.
Just this week, we launched The 19th News Network, a platform to help news publishers, particularly local and community-based ones, connect and share content that centers women, people of color and LGBTQ+ people. We debuted with 25 inaugural partners, from national for-profit publishers like USA Today to local nonprofits like Honolulu Civil Beat and Mississippi Today.
The 19th exists because of our audiences: the readers and members who believe in the power of our journalism to educate and inspire a new electorate. We begin our fifth year humbled by your support for us and your faith in us, and ready to get down to that unfinished business.