Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group


The Eagle’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group aims to fully represent the AU community through our staff, including our leadership and coverage. We hope to strengthen trust from marginalized communities. Part of strengthening trust includes being more transparent about our coverage and what steps we are taking to improve our reporting. In order to do the best coverage possible, we know that it’s essential for our staff to be representative of the AU community. 

We hope to collaborate with and uplift other news organizations that marginalized communities trust and rely on. We recognize that The Eagle has made mistakes in the past by covering unfairly or failing to cover underrepresented communities, and part of the DEI group’s goal is to make structural changes to continually do better.

We welcome and encourage feedback from the AU community on how we can make our staff and coverage more representative of the AU community. Our readers can reach out to the Editor-in-Chief at editor@theeagleonline.com to share their suggestions.

During The Eagle’s 95-year history, we have made many mistakes while covering marginalized groups on campus and in the greater D.C. community. The Eagle takes our responsibility to report fair, meaningful news to the American University community seriously, and we know that the blemishes on our record do not help us gain your trust. 

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The Eagle announces the opening of staff applications for the spring semester, as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group implements a new recruitment strategy

Students from any of American University’s schools are encouraged to apply when applications open on Nov. 30


THE EAGLE


By Gabriel Ferris | Nov. 21, 2020

Staff applications for The Eagle will open on Nov. 30 and close at 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 21, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group decided during a meeting on Wednesday. Interested students can read more about joining The Eagle here and may attend an optional informational session on Dec. 2 at 8:15 p.m. EST.

To better reflect the makeup of American University, The Eagle is looking to diversify its staff with this round of applications, according to Editor-in-Chief Sophie Austin. To reach a wider audience of interested students, DEI staffers will soon contact various University clubs, classes, professors and students directly.

In their correspondence, DEI members will emphasize that The Eagle is not looking just for students with a demonstrated interest in journalism, but also for students who are naturally curious, interested in interacting with the AU community and looking to work with a collaborative team.

In addition to seeking out journalism students, Austin said The Eagle is looking for spring staffers to represent a diverse array of schools and majors.

On the application, applicants can designate their top three choices for specific positions within The Eagle’s Online, Multimedia, Copy Desk, News, Sports, Opinion and Life departments.

Spanish-speaking students interested in becoming writers or editors for The Eagle’s recently announced Spanish initiative are also encouraged to apply, Austin said.

In other matters, the DEI group decided on Dec. 4 for a community-building game night and discussed preliminary plans for the event.

To foster a unified and inclusive community, The Eagle will announce this semester’s last round of buddy pairings between our new and existing staff members at the end of next week.

gferris@theeagleonline.com

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The Eagle’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group looks to a new recruitment strategy for the spring semester while furthering ongoing initiatives

Recruiting first-year students will be a top priority for The Eagle, and DEI members are busy preparing a handful of reporting workshops


THE EAGLE


By Gabriel Ferris | Nov. 10, 2020

The Eagle will focus on recruiting first-year student staffers for the upcoming spring semester, Editor-in-Chief Sophie Austin announced during a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion meeting on Wednesday.

“We have a good size staff; however, we also need to diversify,” Austin said. “Focusing on younger staffers [will allow us] to ensure there is enough representation after senior staffers graduate.”

As previously reported, The Eagle will soon begin reaching out to specific students that may be interested in joining the newspaper. To do this, current Eagle staffers will be asked in the coming weeks to share the names of anyone that they think is interested in journalism.

Austin also said that The Eagle will leverage current first-year staffers to reach a more diverse applicant pool, which Administrative and Local News Editor Abbie Veitch recommended. The Eagle will continue to host a general interest meeting for spring semester applications, Austin said. Additionally, a wide variety of American University campus organizations and resources will be made aware that The Eagle is recruiting.

The seven DEI members present at the bimonthly meeting also heard Austin speak about The Eagle’s initiative to publish articles in Spanish. Talks are occurring with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists chapter at AU, according to Austin.

DEI members also reiterated the group’s recently announced commitment to researching the history of AU’s LGBTQ+ community and provided updates about other projects and events at the meeting.

On Thursday, professor John Watson hosted a conversation with Eagle staffers about communication law and ethics, and this week, staffers attended a Q&A session with School of Communication professors Amy Eisman and Sherri Williams to learn about reporting on marginalized communities, recruitment and retention.

Other workshops planned for the semester include one about financial reporting, one about reporting on AU’s administration and one about covering different cultures, which will be on Nov. 16, following a presentation about best practices for reporting breaking news.

New Eagle buddy pairs were made on Friday, and Austin said that a community-building game night is in the works.

gferris@theeagleonline.com

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The Eagle’s editor-in-chief announces discussion session about reporting on marginalized communities, initiative to publish articles in Spanish 

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group is also working to better represent the University community through a variety of ongoing projects 



By Gabriel Ferris I Oct. 27, 2020

At the most recent meeting of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group this semester, Editor-in-Chief Sophie Austin announced that Eagle staff members will attend a Q&A session on Nov. 9 with School of Communication assistant professors Amy Eisman and Sherri Williams to learn about reporting on marginalized communities. Eisman is the director of the journalism division, and Williams is a member of SOC's DEI committee.

Austin also announced a new initiative for The Eagle to publish articles in Spanish. The editor-in-chief said that she is communicating with the Spanish language program and AU’s National Association of Hispanic Journalists to start the effort. If you or someone you know is bilingual and interested in writing or journalism, Austin urges you to contact her at editor@theeagleonline.com.

DEI members also provided updates about the other work The Eagle is doing to better represent the American University community. The group committed to researching the history of the LGBTQ+ community at AU and, additionally, The Eagle’s past coverage, or lack thereof, of race at the University. Other projects focused on marginalized communities are in the works, and the group will publish final reports for each.

As the first round of The Eagle's buddy system wraps up, as announced in the previous DEI report, staffers can expect new pairings to be announced soon, according to information provided at the meeting. The Eagle is planning for a third round to close the semester.

The Eagle’s online department is also busy compiling information about new staffers to be shared as spotlights on The Eagle’s social media accounts. The DEI group hopes that introducing its reporters to the community will build trust and reinforce that reporting requires a strong, mutual relationship between reporters and readers.

The group also discussed that The Eagle plans to host a game night in the coming weeks as a way of both building camaraderie and further developing a unified and inclusive community.

gferris@theeagleonline.com

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The Eagle releases staff diversity report for the fall semester, looks to make further progress

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group takes tangible steps to diversify our staff and coverage



By Gabriel Ferris | Oct. 14, 2020

We recognize and regret the mistakes we have made, and we know that actions speak louder than words. We must progress forward. Here is how The Eagle is committed to improving the diversity, equity and inclusion of both our staff and coverage:

  • We have strengthened the work of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group to ensure that The Eagle more accurately reflects the University community. The group meets bimonthly and will publish bimonthly updates.
  • We have reviewed and updated our style sheet so that the language used in our reporting is more inclusive. Recognizing that the LGBTQ acronym has its limitations, we now refer to the community as LGBTQ+.
  • Our summer staff members attended an implicit bias training to learn and discuss how people’s backgrounds and experiences shape how they view the world. We have participated in a staff member-led workshop on reporting on different races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations. Other staff members led a workshop on covering protests fairly and accurately when details are often limited.
  • We have changed the way we recruit. In addition to reaching out to students at recruiting events, and through student groups and professors, we are emphasizing contacting individuals we think might be interested in joining our staff directly.
  • We have implemented a buddy system between our new and existing staff members to foster a unified and inclusive community. This is one way that Eagle staffers can meet and connect, despite physical distance.

Lastly, we have started to track the diversity of our staff at the beginning of each semester. Only the editor-in-chief and online managing editor have access to individual responses. However, the aggregate data is openly shared here.


There are more people of color on staff now than there were in the summer; however, there are also more people on staff in general. The percentage of POC on staff is only slightly higher now than it was in the summer. We have a lot of work to do.

Going forward, our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group is going to look at how our next survey can provide more data about our makeup. We plan to continue tracking such data because doing so is impactful: A more diverse staff will undoubtedly lead to more diverse and representative coverage.

Among many other things, we are considering measuring our staff’s socioeconomic status, nationality, first language and sexual orientation. We understand that measuring such personal data comes with great responsibility, and we will ensure that no one on our staff feels pressured into checking a box and that individual data remains private.

We count on you to read our stories and to hold us accountable when we make mistakes in our coverage. Now that we are transparent about our staff’s diversity, it is another metric we want you to hold us accountable for.

gferris@theeagleonline.com

Sophie Austin was responsible for the data visualization in this report.

Would you like to support our work? Donate here to The Eagle Innovation Fund.

From the Archives

A look back into The Eagle's archives.