Every semester, The Daily Nebraskan will conduct a newsroom diversity report through its Diversity Equity & Inclusion Board.
This is the fourth iteration of the report, with the other three coming in the spring of 2022, fall of 2021 & 2020. Previously this was an annual survey but the board has changed it to once a semester.
The board collects demographic data such as race, gender, sexuality and more to give a clear picture of representation – or lack thereof – in our newsroom. We also collected feedback from our staffers on how they view our progress in diversity equity and inclusion and where we can improve.
For context, all 20 members of DN’s senior staff, 39 general staff members, 14 members of Daily Nebraskan Media Group (DNMG) and 1 external member of the Diversity Equity & Inclusion Board filled out this semester’s survey.
This semester 17 of the 20 senior staffers are white. Diversity in senior staff stayed about the same as last semester with 15% being non-white compared to 15.8% last semester.
The Daily Nebraskan had 0 Black employees in the spring of 2022, but this semester we have hired 4 Black staff members.
At this moment, we have 0 Native American staff members.
Just like last semester, the majority of our senior and general staff is made up of women.
The percentage of senior staff who have a sexuality other than heterosexual has increased from 36.8% to 40%. On the other hand, the same percentage has decreased in general staff from 25.5% to 18.5%.
Staff’s religious affiliation shifted compared to last Spring. In the last survey, Christianity and those who don’t affiliate with religion made up a majority of the staff. This semester, those who don’t affiliate with religion make up most of the staff with Christianity and Catholicism being the next largest groups.
Less staffers this semester come from a household income of $100k or more. The percentage dropped from 36.8% to 31.2%. There is also a decrease in staff members who answered with a household income under $50,000, from 12 to 10.
In addition, 59 staff members work to support themselves.
The Daily Nebraskan currently has 14 staff members who are first-generation students.
The majority of the staff is in-state students with 49 staffers and 28 coming in from out of state.
Just like last semester, 23 staff members do not have majors within the college of journalism and mass communications. 28 staff members are double majors.
1 staff member has a first language other than English with that language being Bahasa Melayu.
34.3% of staff is able to speak more than 1 language, although not all are fluent.
What are we doing about it?
The Daily Nebraskan’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion Board has been working since the spring of 2020 to increase diversity in the newsroom. So far our diversity reports have shown little improvement and do not reflect the progress wanted at the publication.
None of these numbers are even on par with the university’s racial diversity. About a quarter of students at the university are non-white.
It is evident that there is still a lot of work to be done DEI-wise at The Daily Nebraskan.
This academic year the board is working on reaching out to more outside organizations and encouraging them to apply at The Daily Nebraskan.
Internally, the board wants to ensure stories are more diverse by including resources that list all the diverse organizations on campus.
We also want to ensure the right language is used in our stories so we are currently working on updating The Daily Nebraskan’s stylebook to include a DEI section so our writers know what verbiage is correct.
We want to make sure our stories are including diverse sources, so the board's solution is to make a diversity source tracker that allows the reporters to fill out the demographics behind each person they interview. We are hoping to implement this next semester and have diversity sources report along with the diversity report. We believe it is important The Daily Nebraskan is transparent on not only who we hire but who we cover in our stories as well.
The Daily Nebraskan’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion Board will continue to prioritize building relationships with all groups on campus moving forward. We are hoping to make changes one step at a time. If you are a student who would like to be involved, the application for the board is currently open.