Spring 2021 Diversity Staff Report
Last fall, the Daily Trojan conducted a staff report to understand the strengths and shortcomings of the staff’s makeup. With that report, we recognized how our fall staff’s makeup had a crucial impact on stories and how they were covered.
For the Spring 2021 recruitment process, the fall staff report was used as a catalyst for more intentional recruitment for spring staffers. Understanding that the fall staff was missing Native American, Indigenous and Alaska Native voices as well as non-cisgendered voices, the Daily Trojan reached out to various student organizations like the Muslim Student Union, La CASA, Queer People of Color and the Black Student Assembly to encourage their members to apply to join the spring staff.
This spring, the Daily Trojan aimed to decrease the gaps seen in the Fall 2020 Diversity Staff Report because representation is a vital component of accurate, mindful and respectful reporting. USC is a campus of many different stories, backgrounds and experiences; thus, the Daily Trojan looks to ensure that our staff is representative of our community.
After gathering data for two months from an internal survey that included questions related to class standing, student status and gender identity, along with others, we noticed some positive changes in the staff’s makeup. For example, there was a 6% increase in Latinx staffers. However, there is still much room for improvement. The Daily Trojan continues to fall short in some areas, including a drop in Black staffers and a lack of Native and Indigenous reporters.
Similar to the fall, the report covers class standing, race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, student status and record of disability. Student status was then divided into different subpoints for those who identify as one or more of the following: international, low income, first-generation, spring admit, receiving need-based financial aid and transfer status.
The Daily Trojan recorded 210 staff responses to the survey, and the sections that had a 100% response rate were: video, online, social, diversity and inclusion staff and the Spring 2021 masthead.
The data from class standings remained relatively consistent with the fall report.
Regarding race and ethnicity, the overall staff representation of East and South Asian communities remained relatively the same. East Asian staffers comprised 22.17% of the staff, and South Asian staffers comprised 14.74%. Similarly, the number of Middle Eastern and North African staffers remained at 3.48% of the total staff. There was an increase in Latinx representation from 9% to amost 15.65%. However, there was also a drop in Black representation from 6% in the fall to 4.35% in the spring.
This increase in Latinx staffers is not sufficient, and the drop in Black representation is detrimental, considering Los Angeles and the surrounding USC community are predominantly Black and Latinx.
The editorial staff is 23.53% East Asian, 23.53% white and 23.53% Latinx. The editorial staff does not include anyone who is transgender or men who identify as gay and no longer has Black representation. The lack of Black staffers on the editorial staff is unacceptable, and the Daily Trojan must keep this in mind when reporting on and for the Black community at USC.
The Daily Trojan is still composed of predominantly cisgendered women; however, there was a decrease in the number of cisgendered men staffers from 27% to nearly 23%.
This spring, representation of non-binary and gender non-conforming people increased, 1.06% and 1.53%, respectively.
Another turnaround was the number of women on the sports staff. Last semester, the staff was 73% men whereas now it has decreased to 58.33%, with women comprising 30% of the staff. Increasing women’s perspective on the sports staff will continue to be a goal for the Daily Trojan moving forward. In contrast, the news and arts and entertainment staff are still predominantly women.
The Daily Trojan is still a predominantly straight staff, although the percentage of straight staffers did decrease from 73% to 67.33%. There was an increase in individuals who identify as bisexual, queer and questioning, representing 13.86%, 1.98% and 4.46% of our staff, respectively. This increase is not sufficient, however, considering Generation Z has the highest numbers of LGBT+ identifying populations.
The question of student status revealed that 22.68% of staffers noted they receive need-based financial aid and 11.15% indicated they are low-income students. Thirteen percent of the staff is first-generation, 12.27% are transfer students and 7.81% are spring admit students. These numbers are similar to those in the fall with some minor differences.
Finally, the majority of the Daily Trojan staff are predominantly non-disabled people, with only 10.88% of staffers reporting that they have or have a record of disability.
Understanding our staff’s makeup will help our coverage be more conscientious when reporting on and for certain communities such as the LGBTQ+ community, Latinx community and so many others that are an integral part of USC. The report will also be a tool we use in the Fall 2021 recruitment process to close the gap of missing community voices even further.
The lack of Black voices in the editorial staff is the most concerning issue brought to light by this report. The Daily Trojan must consider this for the rest of the semester and work to do better in the fall. Although there were some positive improvements in the number of Latinx reporters, women in sports and sexuality, these increases were small. However, other percentages, such as the number of Native and Indigenous staffers, remained stagnant.
Moving forward, we must do a better job of making the Daily Trojan more accessible to these communities as well as people with disabilities. Every voice, background and experience is crucial to accurate reporting.
Design by Lauren Schatzman, Alyssa Shao and Phoebe Um. Data visualization by Myriam Alcala.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated that the editorial staff does not include anyone who identifies as gay, when, instead the editorial staff does not include men who identify as gay. The Daily Trojan regrets this error.