DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: Continuing our efforts to transform TSL’s newsroom

TSL aims to represent a diversity of communities within our staff and our coverage. But doing that effectively begins with an understanding of who’s been comfortable in our newsroom now and in the past — and who hasn’t felt as welcome. Our presence in the predominantly white space of the Claremont Colleges and as a media organization in a field with longstanding structural barriers means it’s incumbent on us to create a newspaper that reflects our values.

This year, our focus is on enabling people of the many backgrounds at the 5Cs to thrive at TSL. As this semester’s diversity & inclusion editors, we’re working to reflect our entire community both in our coverage and with our own staff.

While the D&I desk has only been a part of TSL for one prior semester, our ultimate goal is to make our team represent the breadth of our Claremont Colleges community. We’re committed to being transparent with our readers as we make our way there. As part of that commitment, each semester we are publishing the composition of our newsroom staff.

Of 116 staffers, 80 responded to a voluntary survey, roughly a quarter of whom are on TSL’s senior staff. This survey collected demographic data in addition to qualitative feedback on what TSL can do to support their staffers and the 7C community.

Compared to last semester’s survey, we have a higher proportion of white, Latino/a or Hispanic, Middle Eastern and American Indian or Alaskan Native staffers and a smaller proportion of Asian staffers. However, the proportion of Asian students at TSL remains higher than the number at each of the 5Cs, which is around 20% on average.

A large majority of staffers identify as women, while ten percent identify as men and 6.3 percent identify as nonbinary. Of these, 43.8 percent identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

A large majority of respondents identify as women, while ten percent identify as men and 6.3 percent identify as nonbinary. Of these, 43.8 percent identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

While TSL covers news at all of the Claremont Colleges, 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 ten, six and two and a half percent of our staff, respectively. No current staffers are associated with Claremont Graduate University or Keck Graduate Institute.

About 16 percent of our staff are international students and 10 percent are first generation or low-income students. Additionally, 40 percent of respondents receive financial aid from their schools.

These additional data will help us understand the best routes to build TSL into a more diverse, more welcoming and more accommodating space for all students.

We hope to improve the racial, socioeconomic and gender diversity of our staff with increased recruiting at the end of this semester. We recognize that maintaining diversity in the newsroom and providing inclusive content is imperative for providing better representation of our community and accurate, well-reported content.

We hope to highlight the fact that no experience is needed to join TSL. We want to lower any accessibility barriers that international students, first generation and low-income students, LGBTQ+ students or anyone else may encounter in joining our staff. We appeal directly to these students who may not have had the opportunity to practice journalism before coming to the Claremont Colleges. The training and career support we provide are important parts of our equity efforts.

To build community among our staffers and the greater Claremont community, we plan on holding more events in addition to highlighting guest pieces and input from student groups across the campuses. We will also be forming internal affinity groups for people to build community, get to know one another and seek mentorship and advice. These social groups are open to any staff members from every desk at TSL who identify with them.

In taking our first steps towards spotlighting more diverse content, we’re also launching a new blog, “Affinity,” which will serve as a hub for TSL’s stories surrounding identity, belonging and space. Recognizing that our historical coverage hasn’t always represented the full breadth of identity and meaningful pursuits at the 7Cs, we’re also aiming to fill the gap with more purposeful work in the present — one example being the news section’s substantial project on legacies of Black activism in Claremont last week, coinciding with Black History Month.

We want to listen to what our readers want to see and implement the changes that continue to be necessary. With increased representation of marginalized voices and by incorporating diversity and inclusion into our existing training and editing workflows, we hope that building trust within our staff and with the 7C community at large will result in a TSL that’s better able to reflect all of us and push us to be the best we can be.

Anuradha Krishnan PO ’24 and Kenny Le PZ ’25 are TSL’s diversity and inclusion editors.  The statistics presented in this article represent the respondents and do not account for selection bias.

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