Jeanne Pinder is the founder of ClearHealthCosts, a journalism startup in New York City bringing transparency to health care by telling people what things cost. “After almost 25 years at The New York Times, I volunteered for a buyout in 2009. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but was lucky enough to land in a class in “entrepreneurial journalism,” at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, with Jeff Jarvis and Jeremy Caplan, where I grew the idea for this startup.” Almost exactly a year later, she won a shark-tank-type pitch contest in front of a jury of New York City venture capitalists and internet bigwigs to found the company.
Jeanne hails from Iowa, where she started her career as a journalist at her family’s paper, The Grinnbell Herald-Register, as a cub reporter at the tender age of 13. This means she has been a journalist for more than 50 years! Here is her TueNight 10:
1. On the nightstand: The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. No One Tells You This, Glynnis MacNicol. Women and Power, Mary Beard. Rereading: Eloquent Rage, Britney Cooper. Recently finished: Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler. Yes, we all need more dystopian fiction at this juncture. Also: CBD balm for my hinky hip—my daughter makes it in her instant pot in L.A.
2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Journalism! We are thrilled to save people tons of money—one woman saved $3,786 using our data—as well as changing the conversation about health costs. Our work in Louisiana was instrumental in the passage of consumer protection legislation. And our communities treat us as their gladiators in the murky and confusing world of health care pricing. Journalists are saving the world!
4. Thing I miss: My remarkable twin daughters, who moved to LA. Also I miss traveling—I have traveled all over the world. But now, as a startup founder, my disposable income is slim to none—though I get the thrill of changing the world.
5. 80s crush: The Soviet Union. Really. I was a Russian major, and my enduring fascination with that crazy, sad, improbable, operatic, dramatic, traumatic, uplifting, impossible and heartbreaking place led me to live there for a couple of years, then go on to The New York Times as a Soviet and East European expert. It’s compelling and gut-wrenching and rage-inducing to watch history repeat itself on Russian soil.
6. Current crush: TheLi.st, an amazing online community that introduced me to so many kickass women. Thank you, Rachel Sklar and Glynnis MacNicol, for putting it together—and to the many women who are there, who lift me and each other up, all day every day. I cannot namecheck all—there are so many of you!
7. Will whine about: What’s going on in Washington.
8. Will wine about: See above.
9. Best thing that happened yesterday: I ran circles around a twentysomething guy in tech. It’s amazing in this day and age that people think if you 1) are a woman and 2) have gray hair, you can’t tech. Really?
10. Looking forward to: We have this HUGE EXCITING PARTNERSHIP with a news organization in the works that will light the entire country on fire. Stand back!