Every semester at TSL, we aim to cover the 5C community in the most fair and equitable way possible.
We have a unique challenge (and opportunity) in that our newspaper is responsible for writing stories about five different schools — seven, if you count our two graduate institutions — two sports teams, five administrations and five student governments.
In an effort to be more transparent, we’ve analyzed our news coverage for the spring semester to breakdown who we’re really covering, by school.
In a perfect world, we would cover each college directly proportional to the size of each student body — equitably as opposed to equally.
To quantify the spread and depth of our coverage, we reviewed our articles to see which schools they focused on. In the fall, we completed a similar exercise, analyzing our coverage by measuring the breakdown of students mentioned in our stories by school.
This semester, we calculated the total proportion of our coverage that mentions each school, which we believe to be a much more valuable way to measure how well we are reaching our goal of equitable reporting.
In our 107 news articles to date this spring, there are 195 mentions of at least one of the five colleges. By dividing the number of times each school is covered by 195, we can see what percentage of our news coverage is devoted to each school.
We’re proud to say that our news coverage this semester almost completely reflected the breakdown of students in our college community.
The proportion of our news coverage that focuses on Pomona College, Scripps College and Harvey Mudd College is within one percentage point of the percentage of students at the 5Cs who go to those schools.
The over-coverage of Pitzer is largely explainable — we featured numerous articles on Pitzer’s controversial situation regarding its study abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel.
While we were careful to avoid over-covering the student deaths at CMC in February as our community grieved, we still missed our mark with our coverage of the school overall. Going forward, we’ll attempt to make a more concerted effort to better equalize our coverage.
Overall though, it was a largely successful semester by this metric. One reason for our equitable coverage is that we hired five editorial assistants at the beginning of the semester, who were each assigned to a different college. They went to student government meetings and faculty meetings, when allowed, to ensure we weren’t missing anything important.
We are extremely proud of the news we’ve produced this semester, and, as we head into the next school year, we are excited to continue our vital role on these campuses.