Karen Hawkins, Story Editor: The 19th*

32m | Feb 14, 2023

On this episode we’re joined by Karen Hawkins. Karen is a longtime journalist and is currently a story editor for The 19th*, a newsroom that operates at the intersection of gender, politics, and policy. She is also a board member for the NLGJA, the association of LGBTQ journalists, of which Karen is one.

Additionally, she is the founder and rebelle in chief of Rebellious Magazine, which delivers a unique feminist perspective on Chicago news, politics and culture. She is also the former co-publisher and co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader and the co-host of a podcast about mental health.

Karen shared her journalism origin story, talked about what her job as a story editor entails and how she approaches the editing process. She talked about her future hope for The 19th*, which is that it continues leaning into the asterisk and is inclusive of marginalized groups, and the year ahead for the NLGJA.

She also shared trends she’s noticed in coverage of the LGBTQ community, reminisced about her time at the Chicago Reader, and told the story of her passion projection, Rebellious.

Karen’s salutes:

The first African-American writer to publish a short story, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Journalist, author, teacher Jamal Jordan and Derrick Clifton

Journalism Websites: The Triibe, City Bureau, Scalawag

The NLGJA Mentoring Program

 Thank you as always for listening. Please send us feedback at, visit our website at and Mark's website ( or tweet us at @journalismpod.

The Journalism Salute