Daily Trojan staff diversity report

Cover of report has hands all together and newspapers flying
(Alyssa Shao | Daily Trojan)

For the past two years, the Daily Trojan has surveyed staff on personal identities and demographics with the intention of creating transparency on who works at the publication and to show our growth and shortcomings, both internally and externally. In our fourth diversity report, we also decided to release the report later in the semester in an effort to focus on other diversity and inclusion initiatives. In the past, this has included expanding the liaison team, hosting workshops and reaching out to cultural organizations during recruitment at the beginning of the year. We intend to continue releasing the report in hopes of expanding what the section focuses on.

Because this information is collected through survey data, results rely on the honesty of responses. That being said, it is important to acknowledge that this survey does not account for all members of the newspaper but only those comfortable in choosing to respond. We at the Daily Trojan feel it is important to think critically about the ways in which the various identities of our staff affect the content that we write and produce. It is our hope that transparency with the larger USC community will help us better identify the ways that which our staff can improve. 


To conduct the report, we asked all Daily Trojan staffers to self-report their racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identity, sexuality, student status (international, domestic), languages spoken at home, and record of disability. 

Out of 350 total staffers, we received 243 responses — approximately 69% participation.


visualization of data in graphs
(Alyssa Shao | Daily Trojan)

Looking at the report, we found that the bulk of respondents identify as a cisgender women, making up 64% of staffers — with 29% of staff identifying as cisgender men. The remaining staffers fell across the gender spectrum, ranging from trans men and women to gender nonconforming. 

The bulk of our respondents identified as freshman students (37.0%), followed by sophomore (35.4%), junior (19.8%), senior (6.2%) and graduate students (1.6%), respectively. 

In terms of the racial and ethnic backgrounds of Daily Trojan staff, the majority of respondents identified as white, making up 37.0% of the data we received. East Asian students made up approximately 28.4%. Hispanic and Latinx identifying students made up about 18.1% of the information we received. Black students made up 5.3% of our respondents. In comparison to last semester, our staff demographics has remained relatively consistent.

In regards to sexual orientation, the vast majority of our respondents identified as straight (66.3%), while 33.7% of students identified as either lesbian (3.3%), gay (4.1%), bisexual (10.7%), pansexual (1.2%), asexual (0.4%), queer (7.0%), questioning (2.9%) or preferred not to state (4.1%). It is important to note that for many, sexuality is oftentimes fluid, and thus it is possible that continuing staff who previously identified one way now identify differently. 

According to USC’s published facts and figures of 2021-22, out of a total student population of 49,500 students, about 24% of USC students identify themselves as international. At the Daily Trojan, only 8.2% of staffers identified as international students. The majority of our staff is fluent in English, but we found that a wide variety of our respondents spoke more than one language, some even more than two. Languages spoken by our staff include Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin, Bahasa, and Haitian Creole. 

The last facet of identity that our survey looked at was a record of disability. The vast majority of students at the Daily Trojan identified as not having/not having a record of a disability (81.1%); 12.62% of students stated that they have a disability or a record of one — a slight increase compared to last semester’s 11.23% — while 6.6% of respondents preferred not to state. 

The managing and masthead sections make up the Daily Trojan’s editors, managing team, and other leadership positions. This semester, 30.3% of the masthead is white compared to managing 0%. About 60% of mastheads are cis women and managing the number is 50%. Finally, 50% of the masthead is straight and 33.33% of the managing is straight.

Concluding thoughts  

The goal of the Daily Trojan is to create an inclusive environment for all students that USC represents. We hope to further think about the ways in which we can encourage more involvement and participation in the newspaper. We acknowledge there is no sole truth. We understand that objectifying knowledge in that way fails to account for the various nuances of lived experience. 

In regards to future initiatives, the one of the main goals of the publication is to look at this report and previous shortcomings and address those early on through diversity workshops and , recruitment strategies and reaching out to community organizations on campus. The latter has been a goal for the past two years and was only minimally explored, something that needs to improve in the future. 

The second goal is to use the semester more effectively when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Releasing the report later in the semester will also provide the diversity and inclusion section with more time to host workshops and other initiatives.

It is important to note that when recruiting staff for the Daily Trojan, these identifiers are not factors in decision-making; however, our staff should depict the wide range of experiences at USC, including that of marginalized communities. This data can work to serve as a marker for areas within which we need to improve.

Data visualization by Cari Spencer and Mia Mendez.