The California Aggie’s second annual diversity report illustrates newsroom demographics as of Spring Quarter 2021
As the student-run newspaper at UC Davis, our role is to ensure that our articles reach everyone in our community. We understand that having a diverse newsroom is essential in producing well-rounded, factual content.
To this end, this year, we implemented an Outreach and Engagement Board. Members of our managing staff who are responsible for hiring are required to be on this board, but any staffer at The Aggie is also welcome to join. In our monthly meetings, board members share their ideas to increase diversity in hiring as well as in readership. Beginning in Winter Quarter, we started holding hiring events at the beginning of each hiring period. We plan to continue implementing these events at the beginning of every quarter to inform students about The Aggie and answer questions. Lastly, we made implicit bias training mandatory for all staffers, both paid and volunteer.
The Aggie’s budget for the next academic year will include a paid outreach director, whose job will be to concentrate outreach efforts to cultural organizations and student resource centers on campus. Further, we are in the process of switching student salaries from biweekly stipends to hourly pay at minimum wage, which will ensure that staffers are compensated appropriately. We hope that these changes will make working at The Aggie a feasible option for all students.
Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic posed for our staff and working procedures, some aspects of working remotely have benefitted our reporting and stories. Our move to a fully digital workspace allowed The Aggie to operate across the world, expanding our reach beyond Davis. Online reporting and access to new communication technologies like Zoom have allowed us a wider reach for sources, reporters, viewpoints and stories. Readers can compare our diversity report with that of the UC Davis student body overall.
Methodology We collected this data by sending an anonymous survey to our staffers. We encouraged our staff to fill out the survey by sharing it multiple times in The Aggie’s Slack channel and in desk meetings. We chose these questions because we thought they were the most relevant measures of The Aggie’s total diversity. Out of the 88 staffers working for The Aggie when the survey was sent out, 68 responded. Staffers had the option to answer “Prefer not to say” to any question.
Staffers were asked to select the gender they identify with. The gender breakdown between 2020 and 2021 is almost identical.
Staffers were asked to select what racial backgrounds they identified with. Some people are represented more than once if several answers apply to them. There appear to be fewer staffers who identify as white at The Aggie in 2021 compared to 2020, however, the question was asked differently in 2020 so this comparison is not comprehensive.
Staffers were asked to select which sexual orientation they identify with. There is a similar ratio of heterosexual to LGBTQIA-identifying staffers, but more of a range of LGBTQIA identities in 2021 compared to 2020. The question was asked in the same way in 2020.
Staffers were asked to select which categories their major fall into. Some people are represented more than once if several answers apply to them. There seems to be a greater range of majors in 2021 compared to 2020, i.e. more design and STEM majors and fewer humanities and English majors. The question was asked in the same way in 2020.
Staffers were asked to select when they were admitted to UC Davis. There was a slight increase in transfer staffers at The Aggie from 2020 to 2021.
Staffers were asked to select their political party affiliation.
Staffers were asked to select whether they identify as a person with disabilities.
Staffers were asked to select what year they are in at UC Davis.
Staffers were asked to select which financial aid categories applied to them. Some people are represented more than once if several answers apply to them.
Staffers were asked to select whether they have a job outside of The Aggie.
At least one staffer from each department of The Aggie, excluding distribution/business and advertisement, responded to the survey. Overall, we saw a 25.7% increase in participation from last year.
2 respondents were from the EIC/Managing Editor.
7 respondents were from the Campus News desk.
6 respondents were from the City News desk.
8 respondents were from the Opinion desk.
6 respondents were from the Features desk.
5 respondents were from the Arts & Culture desk.
2 respondents were from the Sports desk.
7 respondents were from the Science & Technology desk.
3 respondents were from the Photo desk.
2 respondents were from the New Media team.
11 respondents were from the Copy desk.
4 respondents were from the Layout desk.
5 respondents were from the Design desk.
At The Aggie, we understand the importance of collecting this demographic information about our staff and will continue to produce these reports annually. Through this work, we are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive work environment for all staff members. In our pursuit of a stronger newsroom, we will continue to reach out to students and community members to create news content showcasing the diversity of UC Davis.