Amanda Zamora and Emily Ramshaw deliver keynote at LION Local Journalism Awards

The co-founders of The 19th spoke about the joys and challenges of launching an independent news business.

November 7, 2022 by Ben DeJarnette

Amanda Zamora and Emily Ramshaw on stage at the LION Local Journalism Awards ceremony

The 19th co-founders Amanda Zamora and Emily Ramshaw knew that launching a nonprofit news site focused on women and politics wouldn’t be easy.

But launching at the start of a global pandemic? Even as experienced news leaders with a detailed business plan, they couldn’t have imagined just how challenging their first months would be.

The silver lining: The growing pains of remote work helped them focus more on their team culture—and prioritize it just as much as reporting the news and raising money.

“We had to put so many extra effort into cultivating relationships, and it has paid off,” Zamora said. “Our team has so much love for each other, and that is not by accident.”

The conversation focused on how The 19th has built “operational resilience” in their newsroom by making it a priority to support and listen to their people.

“In some ways we have to slow down,” Ramshaw said. “We’ve been in startup mode nonstop for three years, and that is exhausting. It’s a treadmill of fundraising. It’s a treadmill of hiring. And [now] we need to think more about how we take care of our team, how we prioritize our culture, how we love on each other, how we set up systems and processes.”

You can read more highlights from the conversation on Twitter (in English and Spanish).

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