December 7, 2017

The Cohort is a Poynter newsletter about women kicking ass in digital media.

Hi friends,

This is my last Cohort newsletter. After quite a bit of soul-searching, I’ve decided to leave Poynter, take time off to figure out what’s next in life and do a lot of writing.

One of the key pieces of advice you get after experiencing a major loss is to not make any big decisions during the first year. I stayed in my house, kept similar routines and returned to work. Poynter (and Florida) was the ideal place to be. From allowing me to take a sabbatical to offering flexibility when I needed to escape the office, my colleagues modeled the right ways to support a grieving coworker. But now, almost a year later, I’m ready to take a leap.

I’ll stay on contract to run Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. The 2018 program is already shaping up to be one of our best yet; we hit a record for number of applications, and next year’s faculty lineup is seriously stellar. The women’s leadership academy — and the incredible people I have met through it — has been a godsend in giving me endless purpose and joy.

(If you applied to the academy, thank you! Good work. We’ll let applicants know whether or not they were chosen for next year’s class by mid-January.)

But I will no longer be writing this newsletter. My Poynter colleagues are working to find someone else to take over The Cohort.

This newsletter means so very much to me. I started The Cohort in February 2016 and have sent out 42 issues since then. I’ve watched the number of readers grow, gotten to know many of you online and in person, and have found my voice as a writer. I’m immensely grateful to my Poynter colleagues for letting me try out this experiment, to my coworker Kristen Hare for being a wonderful editor and sounding board, and to all of you for reading each issue, being supportive and keeping me honest.

I’ve written about a variety of topics for The Cohort, but I keep coming back to the subject of self-care. If we’re unable to listen to our bodies and minds, then we’re not equipped to be the visionary leaders that our newsrooms desperately need. Now it’s time for me to practice what I preach.

I’m not entirely sure what’s next, but, in the spirit of dreaming big and holding yourself accountable: I’d love to write a book. I’m going to set some daily goals for writing and make the most of the network of writers I’ve met through journalism. I have no idea if my dream will pan out, but I’m excited to share it with all of you.

Please stay in touch. Please keep dreaming big. And please keep kicking ass. I’m so proud of everyone in this inspiring community.


Things worth reading

Let’s do this once more, shall we? “There is no going back. There is no erasing that bad behavior. There is no do-over to make right the wrongs inflicted upon so many women who are the collateral damage in an industry of men behaving badly.” TIME’s person of the year is The Silence Breakers, the people of the #MeToo movement. If you’re having trouble keeping up or making sense of everything #MeToo, Jessica Bennett is here to help. Self-care this holiday season might mean not going home. The Guardian US launched a crowdfunding campaign to support an editorial series covering motherhood in America.

Women worth knowing

I wound up profiling 25 inspiring women while writing the Cohort. I spoke to Masuma Ahuja, who took a leap of faith to follow her reporting dreams in India. Sami Main’s reminder that “no one is 100-emoji confident all the time” will forever stick with me. I loved learning about Kim Bui’s daily energy scan. And it all started with Jasmine C. Lee, who’s still kicking ass on The New York Times’ graphics team.

Here’s a Twitter list of everyone I’ve profiled. And you can revisit all the past newsletters here.

Thank you all for reading along.

The Cohort is part of Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media.

All the thanks to Kristen Hare, who provided edits, feedback and invaluable guidance for this newsletter from the start. I love you, friend.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Katie Hawkins-Gaar was Poynter's digital innovation faculty member. She ran the Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media and was one half of the duo…
Katie Hawkins-Gaar

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