Opinion | Introducing The Daily’s inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team

Feb. 4, 2021, 10:48 p.m.

We’re The Daily’s inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team co-chairs, and we’re excited to announce the creation of the team and the initiatives we’re working on.

The DEI team is charged with spearheading the push to improve diversity and equity within the paper’s newsroom, as well as supporting our community outreach efforts. The team was born out of discussions on issues of equity in journalism held by staffers over winter break, and it embodies our commitment to seeing those conversations translate into structural changes at The Daily. 

The paper is not where many want it to be. We’ve heard from students of color that they don’t feel reflected in our coverage. We’ve heard from the Stanford community the many times we’ve fallen short, failing to include the perspectives of those most affected or equivocating where conviction was needed in covering Title IX, Black Lives Matter protest, student deaths and more. We know that not all staffers at The Daily feel welcome and that not all students interested in joining The Daily see a place for them among its staff. 

And when it comes to the paper’s demographics, a survey from Vol. 258 shows that our staff is overwhelmingly made up of white and East Asian students. The vast majority of our staffers are also straight, cisgender and able-bodied. Less than 20% of staffers are first-generation college students — roughly equal to the amount of staffers with legacy staffers. The majority of staffers are upper-middle class and do not receive financial aid, even though 47% of Stanford students receive financial aid.  In many ways, The Daily staff is not representative of the Stanford community, and this gap is particularly crucial in the communities where our coverage has fallen short. 

To remedy these issues identified, the DEI team is currently focusing on five broad initiatives:

  1. Increasing community outreach to the parts of campus we’ve underserved in the past, including FLI and minority students and student organizations.
  2. Conducting internal demographics surveys of The Daily’s staff to understand where we’re falling short and communicating the results to the Stanford community.
  3. Conducting ongoing education of The Daily’s staff on issues of diversity and inclusion, including hosting a discussion series, bringing in guest speakers and conducting staff training on such issues.
  4. Improving the quality of our coverage by incorporating the voices of those affected by the issues we cover and redefining what stories we consider to be “newsworthy.”
  5. Improving inclusion within The Daily and making it a space where all staffers feel welcome.

We think that it is crucial that everyone feels represented in our coverage, and everyone has stories that deserve to be told. Going forward, we hope to amplify the voices and stories of those who have otherwise been left out of Daily coverage and to encourage diverse people to join and cover issues that they care about. We hope to make The Daily a space where everyone feels supported and where everyone can thrive. 

And to share a bit about ourselves: Kate is a rising sophomore from Massachusetts. She’s a managing editor of the news section and is affiliated with the Asian American Journalists Association and NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists.

Malaysia is a sophomore from Colorado. She is a news staff writer and a Campus Life desk editor, and she is affiliated with the National Association of Black Journalists. 

We also want to hear your feedback, which you can submit through our Community Feedback Form or by emailing us directly (kkselig23 ‘at’ stanford.edu and matwater ‘at’ stanford.edu).  We’re very excited to collaborate with the DEI team, Daily staff and the broader community to work toward these aims.

Contact Kate Selig at kkselig23 ‘at’ stanford.edu and Malaysia Atwater at matwater ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Kate Selig served as the Vol. 260 editor in chief. Contact her at kselig 'at' stanforddaily.com.Malaysia Atwater '23 is a senior staff writer and former Vol. 260/261 managing editor in the News section. She is a political science major from Centennial, Colorado, and she enjoys dancing and re-watching Grey's Anatomy in her free time. Contact her at matwater 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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