Black Women’s History Month: Errin HainesErrin Haines, editor at large for "The 19th*" appearing on MSNBC Morning Joe on March 17 (Photo of broadcast by Maria Saporta)
The Atlanta native and editor-at-large for The 19th* wants you to be informed about the issues that affect your world.
By Allison Joyner
If you told her two years ago that she would be working at an independent, nonprofit newsroom, she would have said you were crazy. But now Errin Haines is reporting on gender, politics and policy at The 19th – an independent, nonprofit news organization focusing on women and their stories.
When Haines was approached by Emily Ramshaw, the 19th’s CEO, she knew she had found her niche. “I was completely sold and onboard with trying to do what I didn’t think we were going to be able to do so fast enough in mainstream legacy media,” she told SaportaReport.
The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote a hundred years ago, but the publication’s logo includes an asterisk. Haines explains the punctuation thusly: “The asterisk is because of the Black women who were omitted from their access to the franchise 100 years ago, at the expense of White women.” Haines says. “What we [at The 19th*] say is that we are committed to expanding our democracy and centering the people who have been unseen and unheard in this country for too long.”
Regarding her success, the Creekside High grad and Atlanta hometown girl gives credit to the first newspaper where she interned, The Atlanta Daily World, which she said helped her become the dynamic journalist she is today.
“My experience in Atlanta was foundational to who I am as a journalist and who I am as a person,” Haines recalls“When you grow up in a place like Atlanta, you see Black excellence everywhere. Everybody from the bus driver to the mayor is a Black person – a person of authority who is not only in charge, but somebody you would respect.”
While she was a student at Oglethorpe University, Haines thought journalism would be a good fit for her due to her “nosy as hell” personality and love for meeting new people. And with working at a small newspaper, she said you get a hands-on experience on how to run the business and how to find the stories, too.
Remembering her days as an intern, Haines said she would have to go up and down Auburn Avenue, to “pound the pavement” to fill the paper each week, which she said helped her generate story ideas and learn every aspect of the paper. These experiences gave her an appreciation for everybody who worked with her at the World.
Today, Haines is most interested in civic processes and informing her audience about their rights. Most recently she’s covering the flurry of bills passed by the Georgia legislature that she says blatantly suppress the rights of people of color to vote.
“We know our own federal government has said that this was the safest and most secure election in U.S. history,” Haines says, referring to the November Presidential election. “Yet the most urgent issue that this legislature seems to think needs to be addressed is not the pandemic, not job creation; it’s election integrity which is not a problem in Georgia.”
Haines and the other founder members of The 19th* think that it is up to us, the people of Georgia, to educate ourselves and realize that we have the power to pick who they want to represent us in office.
“I think that as folks get more engaged in democracy, they understand that voting is just one step,” Haines said. “I think that you are seeing more voters holding people accountable as [lawmakers] transition into governing.
Ultimately, Haines wants everyone — especially women — to seize their power and encourage others to do the same.
To get up-to-date information on voting rights and other issues happening around the country, sign up for The 19th* newsletter.