Daily Texan’s first Diversity and Inclusion Board addresses improving representation

Megan Shen

The Daily Texan is finally addressing an issue that plagues newsrooms nationwide — a lack of diversity.

The Daily Texan’s new Diversity and Inclusion Board was founded this semester to improve representation in the Texan’s stories and newsroom. The Roundtable with The Daily Texan Diversity and Inclusion Board, hosted in The Daily Texan basement Wednesday, focused on announcing the board’s objectives and goals.

“Diversity is a newsroom-wide issue and is something that affects every newsroom across the nation,” said Tiana Woodard, one of the three board members. “(These conversations) matter because diversity includes encompassing as many voices as possible into our reporting.”

Woodard, English and radio-television-film sophomore, said minorities don’t see other people who look like them in leadership roles at the Texan, which can discourage them from feeling included or applying for upper-level positions.

“When people see that they don’t have anyone that they can relate to or anyone to look up to or to aspire toward, they just go into other industries they feel that they may be represented or feel more of a sense of belonging,” Woodard said. “Without addressing that, the cycle only continues, and that’s why we’re still in this state in journalism today.”

The board said they are continuing the Raising Voices initiative, which gives non-Texan staffers an opportunity to be printed in the paper. They are also establishing the Texan’s first diversity committee to train staffers and allow them to provide more input on diversity at the newspaper.

“We want to build campus relationships,” board member Maria Mendez said. “That’s something we really want to start working on now. We want to reach out to different departments on campus.”

Mendez, journalism and sociology senior, said The Daily Texan has previously misrepresented minorities and various organizations on campus. Mendez said the board’s biggest goal is to develop a long-term strategic vision that outlines how future Texan staffers should continue to work on these issues.

“We want to rebuild those relationships and bridges, so that we can do a better job of covering them, and they can come to us if they feel like there’s an issue on campus that can be covered by our staffers,” Mendez said.

Lisa Nhan, board member and business management junior, said she also wants to establish a strategic vision and hopes to make the Texan an inclusive space for everyone in the future.

“If you feel like you’re out of place in your department, or if you feel like you don’t belong in this basement, we want it to be a space where you can go,” Nhan said. “(We want you to) feel like ‘OK, this is a place with people who understand that feeling and can share in that experience,’” Nhan said.