Letter from the Editors: Sharing the results of the Vol. 260 demographics survey

Feb. 13, 2022, 10:53 p.m.

At the end of Vol. 260, The Daily conducted its third demographics survey. The survey allows The Daily’s editorial staff to evaluate its initiatives on fostering diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and also provides staffers with the opportunity to share feedback on what they would like to see change at The Daily. 

As part of our commitment to transparency, we are sharing the results of this survey. You can find the results from our past two end-of-volume demographics surveys here. 91 staffers filled out the survey, and though the data are not fully representative of our staff, which numbers over 250, it still offers important insights.

The Daily aims to have the demographics of its staff and editors to meet or exceed Stanford’s regarding the representation of staffers from underrepresented backgrounds. We generally achieved this goal with regards to our representation by race and international student status, but can still improve upon diversifying our editorial leadership and staff in regards to LGBTQ+ students and students with disabilities. 

About half of respondents identified as cisgender women, with this category making up 50.5% of all survey participants. 41.8% of staffers who filled out the survey identified as cisgender men, while transgender and nonbinary indiviudals made up 1% and 3.3% of respondents, respectively. 

31.9% of survey respondents identified as LGBTQ+, and approximately 10% of respondents identified as having a disability, infirmity or longstanding illness. The majority of participants were not international students, with international students making up 11% of all respondents. For comparison, international students are 13% of Stanford undergraduates and one fourth of all students. In addition, 56% of Daily staffers who responded to the survey are receiving some form of need-based financial aid from the University, compared with 49% of respondents from our Vol. 259 survey and 47% of all Stanford students, according to the University’s financial aid website. 17.6% of our respondents identified as first-generation college students, and 18.7% had a parent who attended Stanford. 

The survey shows that a majority of staff is white and East Asian, which is consistent with findings from the Vol. 259 survey. Approximately 15.4% of respondents identified as Latinx and 11% identified as Black, in comparison with 17% and 7% of Stanford students, respectively. Native American students are the most underrepresented ethnic group at The Daily, which is also reflected in data collected by Stanford’s IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment) initiative. 

Finally, just over 50% of survey respondents had no journalism experience prior to joining The Daily, in comparison with nearly two-thirds of respondents from the Vol. 259 survey. 

The survey also solicited qualitative feedback from staffers on their perceptions of DEI initiatives at The Daily. Some common threads included a desire for more mentorship of students with no prior journalism experience, requests for increases in community-building initiatives — especially at the desk level and among graduate student staffers — and more transparency and education in regards to the pay structure of the editorial staff. Furthermore, while most respondents said they felt valued for their contributions and appreciated the opportunities The Daily provides for professional development, some did not feel they had a voice in decision-making at the paper.

The Daily takes this feedback very seriously and is committed to bolstering community-building initiatives, listening to the voices of staffers and the broader Stanford community and increasing transparency and access for all members of our organization.  

Some steps we are taking to achieve these goals include launching editor feedback forms, which will allow staffers to provide their editors with suggestions and recommendations for how they can be as helpful as possible. These feedback forms offer a safe avenue for staffers to share what’s working and what’s not, and to voice concerns. In addition, we hope that these forms will help us improve our editing practices and carry crucial institutional knowledge. 

In addition, in response to requests for more mentorship, we are hoping to expand and strengthen our mentorship program for new staffers, continue to host affinity group events for staffers from different backgrounds and again hold a Summer Journalism Institute for incoming first-year and transfer students from backgrounds underrepresented in journalism.

We hope that these measures will help us bolster diversity, equity and inclusion at The Daily and beyond so that our staffers feel at home at The Daily and so that our readership is able to consume a diverse range of content that represents their communities.

Jared Klegar ’24 was opinions managing editor in Vol. 263 and magazine editor in Vol. 262. An English major, dangling modifiers are among his biggest pet peeves. Contact him at jklegar 'at' stanforddaily.com.Kate Selig served as the Vol. 260 editor in chief. Contact her at kselig 'at' stanforddaily.com.Jeremy Rubin was the Vol. 260 Executive Editor for Print and Sports Editor in Vol. 258 and 259. A junior from New York City, he studies Human Biology and enjoys long walks, good podcasts and all things Yankees baseball-related. Contact him at jrubin 'at' stanforddaily.com.Lana Tleimat '23 (... maybe '24) is the Vol. 260 executive editor for digital. She was formerly managing editor of humor. She is from Columbus, Ohio, and isn't really studying anything. Contact her at ltleimat 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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