Letter from the editor: Increasing diversity in coverage, newsroom is an ongoing effort
The majority voice has almost no trouble making itself heard. But minorities are rarely in that position.
Enabling those minorities to speak up allows everyone to participate in an open dialogue that crosses all of the invisible lines and constructions that separate people.
Media outlets have the power to facilitate discussion among community members. Within our roles as journalists, we build the bridges.
Therefore, it is important for the Arizona Daily Wildcat to cover minorities to the best of its ability.
Diversity is more than just numbers on a college campus. Being diverse goes beyond doing things like measuring ethnic minority enrollment, and thinking about diversity in such a narrow way waters down its goal. Diversity is really about making sure all perspectives are seen and heard.
The Daily Wildcat is dedicated to providing fair, complete and thorough coverage. In meeting this standard, Wildcat staff members recognize that we must provide a forum for all views, even conflicting ones and especially for underrepresented ones.
This semester’s Daily Wildcat board of editors will add a commitment to diversity to the Wildcat staff resource manual of policies, procedures and expectations. The manual is usually reviewed and updated each semester, and newly hired staff members agree to abide by the manual in a written contract.
The addition would clearly spell out the expectations of the student editors and reporters of the Wildcat to be as inclusive as possible in both staff and coverage.
Revising the manual would create a published record of our promise to avoid stereotypes in our reporting, make sure we rely on a variety of sources, and fairly represent all facets of the UA community. Furthermore, we will strive to shape a welcoming atmosphere within our own offices for a spectrum of views.
Journalism is a public service. In order to report on the communities they serve, media organizations must represent the interests of those communities.
There are few places where this is more important than at an institution of higher learning like the UA.
Learning, though, is never-ending, and the Daily Wildcat’s diversity statement would be just a start.
Daily Wildcat staff members will hold a discussion via Skype on Wednesday with Sue Green, a broadcast journalism professor at Arizona State University. Green is a board member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and UNITY Journalists, an alliance between NLGJA, the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.
Students and professors from the UA’s School of Journalism and Tucson Weekly editor Jimmy Boegle will also attend. Wildcat editors and reporters, journalism students, Green and Boegle will discuss how to improve coverage and representation in the newsroom.
No single statement on our commitment to diversity or one-time discussion on how to achieve our goals will be enough. We must monitor and regularly evaluate our coverage of minorities. We will need to be diligent.
Through regular self-evaluation and discussion, we can learn from our successes and our shortcomings. It sounds like a slow improvement, but progress never happens overnight. Everything has to start somewhere.
Diversity is an ongoing process. A little piece of the bridge is built each day.