One of the core tenets of TSL’s mission is to hold itself to the highest possible journalistic standards.
As the DEI editors of the Fall 2022 semester, we work to hold TSL accountable and ensure as a newspaper that we fulfill these goals. For this reason, we aim to be as transparent as possible in our efforts to improve TSL’s workspace and coverage and lower the barriers to entry that are so commonly found in journalism.
Our goals for this semester have included sharing stories with respect, empathy and accuracy, and visibility to those who have been missing or misrepresented in traditional narratives of both history and journalism. We hope that this not only makes our work stronger and more relevant, compelling and trustworthy, but also helps readers and viewers both recognize themselves in our stories and better understand people who differ from them whether in race, age, gender or class.
We are committed to fostering a diverse staff that reflects the 5C community that we report on. As a part of that commitment and in an effort to remain transparent, we have published the composition of our newsroom staff each semester for the past year and continue to do so to track our progress in working towards our DEI goals.
Of 159 staffers, 90 responded to a voluntary survey, roughly a third of whom are on TSL’s senior staff. This survey collected demographic data such as college affiliation, racial identity and financial aid status, in addition to qualitative feedback on what TSL can do to improve its workspace and better represent the communities it serves.
As compared to last semester, we have a higher proportion of white, Latinx, Middle Eastern, East Asian, South Asian and Southeast Asian staffers, and a smaller proportion of American Indian or Alaskan Native staffers.
Nearly three-fourths of respondents identify as women, while around 17, eight, two and one percent identify as men, nonbinary, genderqueer and agender, respectively.
Of these staffers, 13 percent are international students and 16 percent are first-generation, low-income students. Additionally, 50 percent of respondents receive financial aid from their institution and 44 percent identify as LGBTQIA+.
Although TSL covers news at all seven Claremont undergraduate and graduate institutions, our staff is not equally representative of the schools. Most staffers come from Pomona College and Scripps College, while Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College and Harvey Mudd College make up 11, eight and three percent of our staff, respectively. One percent of staffers are from Claremont Graduate University, while no current staffers are associated with Keck Graduate Institute.
While we prioritize having a diverse staff makeup through increased recruitment efforts, we also aim to report news and tell stories with a continued, intentional effort to highlight marginalized voices.
At TSL, we believe that inclusive storytelling should be a part of everyday conversations, decision-making and coverage and that starts with our writers. For this reason, this semester, we held a training for our staffers in inclusive storytelling. By integrating these goals in all aspects of our articles and conversations, we aim to overcome our unconscious biases. We encouraged staffers to report at length on issues surrounding diversity, but, in doing so, to acknowledge the importance of using thoughtful and precise language, including necessary context and background and avoiding tokenism.
For the same reasons, our editorial board organized an inclusive storytelling workshop in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center where Los Angeles Times reporter Pendarvis Harshaw and photographer Brandon Tauszik led a conversation on their multimedia project, “Facing Life.”
As a paper, we also tried to increase our DEI coverage among all of the sections, but perhaps most notably with the installation of a new team at TSL, our special projects desk. TSL has never dedicated an entire desk to special projects before and the last editor devoted to a similar role was on staff in 2015.
In recent semesters, projects led by our news team have culminated in a series of archival and investigative stories covering a variety of topics. We hope to cement the desk into the fabric of our paper so future editors can continue expanding our storytelling efforts in years to come. This semester our special projects team worked on a full spread highlighting LGBTQIA+ stories at the 7Cs in an effort to make up for a severe lack of thorough coverage in years past.
Lastly, we have also focused on making TSL more accessible, both in working for TSL and in our coverage. We have implemented a Spanish translation team that helps us reach more members of our 5C community and we hope to expand this section to accommodate more languages. TSL also brought on an inaugural data team to expand which students work for TSL as we have come to realize that there are a lot of ways to communicate beyond just the written word and imagery. We have also begun a crowdfunding initiative as we work to build an internal scholarship program for TSL staffers.
Our hope is that with all of the DEI efforts this semester, we have both helped TSL adhere to its mission of building a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment and set a precedent for DEI efforts in the future.
Anuradha Krishnan PO ’24 and Manan Mendiratta HM ’26 are TSL’s diversity, equity and inclusion editors. The statistics presented in this article represent the respondents and do not account for selection bias.