The Key to Covering the 2020 Election: More Women

“My critique is not of any person or one institution. It’s a system.”

Mother Jones When We Lead Panel Event |April 11, 2019 | The New School Tishman Auditorium| New York New YorkNicole Fara Silver

From the #MeToo movement to the fight for workplace equality to the dystopian abortion bills popping up around the country, male supremacy is plainly on the agenda in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. How should the media, particularly women in media, cover such a fraught moment? 

To help guide us toward an answer, Mother Jones’ race and justice reporter, Jamilah King, recently hosted two live events in New York City that brought together five women journalists of various ages and backgrounds. First, Jamilah spoke with Jessica Yellin, CNN’s former White House chief correspondent, at The Wing DUMBO, a women-only space in New York City, to discuss Yellin’s new novel, Savage News; the 2020 presidential election; the not-so-secret bro culture of cable news; and life after TV news. This is the first time in 20 years she won’t be covering an election for a network. 

Yellin’s professional career was ripe for a tell-all memoir. She went a different route, writing a fictionalized account of her experience in broadcast journalist. This wasn’t just a matter of discretion. “I didn’t want to name names. I didn’t want to be taking the trash out on anyone. My critique is not of any person or one institution. It’s a system.”

This week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast also contains highlights from another live event Jamilah hosted at Manhattan’s New School. The conversation features some of today’s leading women in media discussing the challenges and the hope of achieving equality in the industry: Imara Jones, a black transgender woman and host of The Last Sip on Free Speech TV; Antonia Hylton, correspondent and producer for Vice News Tonight on HBO; Kat Aaron, an organizer and producer at Pineapple Media; and Allie Maloney, senior politics editor at Teen Vogue.

Listen to Jamilah’s interviews in this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast:

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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