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Letter from the editors: Surveying The Daily’s newest class of recruits

By and

This fall, The Daily’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team surveyed The Daily’s fall recruitment class to better understand the demographics of who joins our organization. We hope these data, when combined with the results of the end-of-volume demographic survey we plan to conduct in January, will allow us to track both recruitment and retention efforts.

As part of our commitment to transparency, we are sharing the results of this survey (and you can find the results from our past two end-of-volume demographic surveys here). Of the 462 students who applied to join The Daily this fall, 109 filled out the survey. Though the data are not fully representative of our recruitment class, they still offer important insight into diversity, equity and inclusion at The Daily.

Our goal in recruitment was for the ​​demographics of our fall recruitment class to either meet or exceed Stanford’s regarding the representation of staffers from underrepresented backgrounds, which we generally achieved.

The majority of respondents identifed as cisgender women, with this category making up 53.2% of all survey participants. 42.2% of staffers who filled out the survey identified as cisgender males, while transgender and nonbinary individuals made up 1% and 3% of participants, respectively. 

A majority of participants also identified as straight and non-disabled. 12.8% of participants identified as international students, and 53% of students are receiving some form of need-based financial aid from Stanford. While data from the 2020-21 school year are not yet available, in the 2019-20 school year, 47% of all undergraduates received need-based aid from the University, according to the University’s Financial Aid website.

In terms of the racial and ethnic breakdown of Daily staffers, The Daily’s demographics are somewhat in alignment with data collected by Stanford’s IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment) initiative. Black and Latinx recruits who filled out the survey make up 12% and 24% of all participants, respectively, in comparison with 7% and 17% of Stanford students. 

Finally, prior to coming to Stanford, 58% of participants had no journalism experience.

While not a perfect measure of equity and diversity within our organization, these results will inform our work moving forward as we strive to foster an inclusive and diverse environment at The Daily. However, recruitment is only half the battle. Right now, staffers and the DEI team are working to ensure that we retain students from underrepresented backgrounds at similar rates.

To work toward this goal, this summer, The Daily held our inaugural Summer Journalism Institute (SJI), a two-week internship program for incoming frosh from backgrounds underrepresented in journalism. We have also been working on designing and implementing a mentorship program for underrepresented staffers and have launched affinity groups for staffers who share particular identities. This year, the DEI team will work towards more transparency when making important decisions about DEI and will strive to increase accessibility at The Daily for people of all different backgrounds and identities. 

We hope that these measures will help us bolster diversity, equity and inclusion at The Daily and beyond so that our readership can see themselves represented and consume a diverse range of content. 

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Sarina Deb '23 is the Director of The Equity Project, a section dedicated to centering underrepresented voices. She is also a news writer and the Co-Chair of the DEI team. She grew up in the Bay Area and is majoring in political science. Contact her at sdeb7 'at' stanford.edu
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Staff Writer, DEI Team Co-Chair
Jared Klegar ’24 writes for Arts & Life and co-chairs the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team. An English major, misplaced modifiers are among his biggest pet peeves. Contact him at jklegar 'at' stanforddaily.com.