The Eagle releases its staff diversity report for the spring semester, prepares to recognize Black History Month with special coverage
Following a new recruitment strategy, The Eagle’s spring staffers are younger and more racially and ethnically diverse than in the fall, according to information announced by the paper’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group at its first meeting of the semester Wednesday.
This spring, about 67 percent of staffers identify as white, compared to about 76 percent of staffers in the fall. In addition, The Eagle now has nearly twice as many staffers this spring who identify as being more than one race or ethnicity than in the fall.
Due to changes that the DEI group made to the staff intake form following recruitment last fall, other such comparisons cannot be made. For example, the revised and more inclusive intake form included new racial and ethnic groups, such as “South Asian,” “East Asian” and “Middle Eastern or North African.” Although percentage point comparisons between the fall and spring would not be accurate, Eagle staffers this spring represent more racial and ethnic groups than before.
For the first time, the intake form asked staffers if they receive federal financial aid, including that from Pell Grants. While a comparison to the fall semester is not possible, roughly half of Eagle staffers either receive Pell Grants or another form of federal aid, and half receive neither.
The Eagle’s young staff this spring will allow for a smooth transition into the summer and fall semesters after senior staffers graduate in May, according to Editor-in-Chief Sophie Austin. This change follows a new recruitment strategy that saw all DEI members and other staffers alerting first-year advisers, professors, various campus organizations and first-year students directly that the spring application was live.
While only the editor-in-chief and online managing editor have access to individual responses, as part of its commitment to improving the diversity, equity and inclusion of staff members, The Eagle is openly sharing its aggregate data from the spring intake form here.
The DEI group is also working to improve the diversity, equity and inclusion of the paper’s coverage by launching an initiative in which The Eagle will publish articles in Spanish. To do this, The Eagle hired bilingual writers and copy editors to launch the effort this spring, and the first Spanish articles will appear online in the coming days.
The Eagle also plans to publish articles this semester that recognize Black History Month and the history of LGBTQ+ movements on American University’s campus.
Among other workshops this semester, new staffers will participate in an implicit bias training that will focus on recognizing and combating biases in The Eagle’s reporting. Following the training, section editors will meet with their staffers to set both individual and section-wide goals.
The DEI group will also begin working with the Copy department in the next few weeks to examine The Eagle’s Style Sheet for bias or anything that may prevent the paper from covering marginalized communities in a way that is consistent with the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics to minimize harm.
Going forward, the DEI group has committed to such internal reviews, section-wide goals and personal goals becoming a routine part of the semester.
Sophie Austin was responsible for the data visualization in this report.