From the newsroom: Are we writing the stories you want to see?
Although the Arizona Daily Wildcat is a niche paper, it covers a big campus with a diverse population. It’s important for us as a news organization to reflect that diversity by fully covering the many different perspectives and groups that contribute to our campus.
For this reason, The Arizona Daily Wildcat Standards and Practices Committee — made up of myself, the editor-in-chief, the copy chief and the digital media editor — has created a diversity policy for the newsroom’s resource manual that will go into effect next semester.
This policy recognizes that the Wildcat’s “commitment to diversity is crucial to fulfilling its mission to be the primary source of information for, by and about the UA community.”
It describes how we’ll pursue stories about minority issues, and it outlines how to include more minority voices in every kind of story.
The new policy emphasizes that covering our campus means hearing from a variety of voices, especially those that aren’t the loudest or most prominent.
Earlier this semester, an ASUA Pride Alliance intern told us that he’d noticed that we often only interview Christina Bischoff, co-director of ASUA Pride Alliance, when there are other people who are just as capable of being interviewed about stories related to Pride Alliance and LGBTQ issues.
This conversation was a good reminder to go beyond representing a group or perspective with just a single source.
As the policy states, “That person becomes the go-to source for stories about issues faced by that minority group, but reporters should be aggressive about collecting sources from a wide variety of people in the community.”
It’s both silly and an injustice to you, the reader, to make one person the mouthpiece for an entire group of people.
Additionally, diversity goes beyond the categories that are often mentioned: race, sexual orientation and gender. It also includes things like education level, age and background. The Wildcat could do a better job of covering graduate students and veteran students, for example.
Diversity in coverage also includes the responsibility of representing a wide range of student interests. Are we writing the stories you want to see?
We write a lot about administrative issues and news. We just did a big spread on President Ann Weaver Hart’s inauguration in Friday’s paper, and continued that coverage online throughout the day as well.
Although Hart’s inauguration was a big deal to many people on campus, I imagine that for many of you, the administrative stories don’t matter as much on a day-to-day basis, unless they say your tuition is going up.
Although it is impossible to cover everything, all the time, with the same nuance and intensity that we used to cover Hart’s inauguration, coverage is ideally a balancing act that offers something for everyone.
This is your paper. The Wildcat should meet your needs and the stories should reflect and enhance your university life.
So what stories do you think we are missing? Do you feel like your voice is being heard?