The need for more equitable and representative news stories has been long overdue. News organizations in Minnesota and across the country are waking up to a critical, persistent problem: their newsrooms do not look like their communities. Newsroom employees are still majority white and male and are less diverse than the average U.S. workplace, according to the Pew Research Center.
The Minnesota Daily acknowledges that lack of representation in the news is an industry-wide problem that we are not exempt from. As a learning institution, we need to do better to train the next generation of emerging journalists, which means holding ourselves accountable and teaching our reporters to seek out equitable coverage.
The Daily’s new editor-in-chief, Cleo Krejci, established the Content Diversity Board this summer to meet the mission of supporting diversity in our content and in our newsroom, acknowledging that there is always room to improve in our coverage. We operate on the fundamental understanding that there is no accuracy in media without fair and equitable representation. As a board, we created the following mission statement to guide our practices:
“We acknowledge that journalism cannot function as a truth-teller and watchdog without accurate representation of its communities. Therefore, our role is to support the newsroom’s diversity mission statement and ensure our coverage accurately reflects the diversity of the U’s campus and surrounding communities by:
- Acting as a watchdog for accurate and representative coverage
- Analyzing coverage to provide a radar for diversity issues in reporting and editing
- Providing a space for discussion and debate about ethics and best practices in diverse coverage
- Serving as a bridge between the Minnesota Daily and the campus community.”
Our editors have been updating our new content tracker throughout summer publication, which logs every story that is published. From the tracker, we can see if a story highlights an issue important to underserved communities or if it offers a non-majority perspective. The board will analyze data from the tracker to evaluate the scope and balance of our coverage. Which communities could be better represented? The tracker will give us an overview of our coverage to help answer questions as they arise. We aim to publish a report of the board’s work and data analysis from this year’s coverage.
We also aim to improve the Daily’s relationship with campus and its surrounding communities to better serve as an open forum for discussion. The board will bring in outside perspectives to teach skills and tell their stories, whether they’re media professionals or other groups impacted by media coverage.
Assembling the board is one of many steps to supporting diversity in coverage. As we develop the board, we want to keep the line open to community input. Please direct any suggestions to email@example.com.
Tiffany Bui, board chair, she/hers
Ariana Wilson, outreach coordinator, she/hers
Michelle Griffith, newsroom coordinator, she/hers
Cleo Krejci, office of the publisher member, she/hers