Letter from the editors: Promoting equity at The Stanford Daily

Sept. 9, 2020, 10:37 a.m.

In the last few months, the disparate harms caused by the pandemic and police brutality have brought into focus the breadth, depth and depravity of racism in American institutions.

The Stanford Daily has participated in systems of racism in America. We have overlooked considerations of equity in our coverage and in our organization. We have failed to cover properly topics important to underrepresented communities at Stanford. We have failed to recruit and retain a diverse staff and support students from backgrounds historically excluded from journalism. 

We want to renew previous editors’ expression of solidarity with the Black community, reaffirm that Black lives matter and express our commitment to improving. After a series of conversations with Daily staff members over the last few months, our team is taking the following steps toward becoming a more equitable organization and publication. 

  • In our content, we’ll implement a focus on equity coverage, aiming to produce reporting and personal essays on marginalized communities on campus and the experiences of students with diverse identities. And to ensure ethical and conscientious reporting, we’ll emphasize considerations of equity and journalistic ethics in staff training.
  • To build a diverse staff and inclusive community, we’ll redouble our efforts to recruit new staff members thoughtfully and intentionally. To ensure recruits have a warm welcome into The Daily’s large team, we’ll organize new staff members into orientation groups, with older Daily staffers acting as mentors. And to track our progress in diversifying our staff, we’ll continue conducting demographics surveys, reporting key takeaways from the results. 
  • To help our staffers engage with identity-centered communities through journalism, we are fully covering the cost of membership for Daily staff members to join journalism affinity organizations.
  • To give back to our community and share our expertise widely and in a way as financially accessible as possible, we’ll host a series of free educational workshops open to the public. And to promote financial accessibility internally, in winter we’ll launch the pilot of a new scholarship program, planned by past Daily leadership, that compensates a small number of staff members who may face financial barriers to devoting large amounts of time to our organization.
  • Within The Daily, we’ll continue discussions about considerations of equity so we remain mindful of them throughout the volume. And beyond The Daily, we’ll work to strengthen relationships with campus stakeholders. 

We are lucky to be backed by an outstanding team of staff members, and we are grateful for their eager contributions to this plan’s formation and implementation.

The initiatives outlined here are in no way comprehensive. We will continue to evaluate, adjust and expand our efforts to make The Daily a home for all students and a resource for our entire community. 

The Daily has fallen short. But we love journalism because we believe in its power to share yet-unheard stories, and to hold the powerful to account. We are committed to realizing that mission. And we are committed to building an inclusive organization where all Stanford students can find a home. It is an imperative for us, one that will make us a stronger organization. And our community deserves the best we have to offer. 

Charlie Curnin, Editor-in-Chief, and Jackie O’Neil, Executive Editor

Contact Charlie Curnin at ccurnin ‘at’ stanford.edu and Jackie O’Neil at jroneil ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Charlie Curnin '22 is the editor-in-chief of The Stanford Daily. Contact him at eic 'at' stanforddaily.com.Jackie O'Neil '21 is The Daily's Vol. 259 staff development director and the former executive editor for Vol. 258 and managing editor of The Grind for Vols. 255 and 256. She's a Richmond, Virginia native studying political science, psychology and ethics. Contact her at joneil 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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