Who’s represented in our community and our coverage?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs are under attack. Both print and digital daily newspaper circulation continues to fall. And yet, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee of the Daily Princetonian persists, entering its fourth year of existence under the newly-assembled 148th Board.

In the face of these national pressures, the DEIB committee has worked to create a report that communicates where the ‘Prince’ is in its perpetual goal to create a more diverse and inclusive newsroom. It is my hope that this report and the work of the DEIB Committee over the last year will push the ‘Prince’ closer to creating a more responsible and community-informed paper. It is this motivation that keeps the DEIB Committee going.

Only five years ago, the Editorial Board of the Daily Princetonian identified the diversity of this paper as one of its most pressing deficiencies. Now, and then, a diverse staff is essential for publishing more informed coverage of Princeton and its many communities. The ‘Prince’ continues to serve as the first journalism experience for many of its staffers, and the increasing number of students on financial aid and decreasing number of students for whom campus jobs have interfered with their ability to contribute to the paper is promising. However, the underrepresentation of Black, Hispanic/Latine, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or Native American and Indigenous students suggests greater work is needed in the recruitment and retention of staffers from these racial and ethnic identities. This gap — and the continued underrepresentation of first-generation or low-income students — only widens when looking at the makeup of editors at the ‘Prince’. It is essential that this paper better commits to a more diverse newsroom.

In addition to promoting a more diverse paper, it is a goal of the DEIB committee for the ‘Prince’ to better support its staff. Inclusion and belonging is one of this paper’s most basic responsibilities, and work must be done to address the experiences of staffers of color, low-income staffers, and staffers in non-editor positions who feel largely less included than their counterparts. This committee has worked to establish a DEIB-specific Internal Feedback Form, designed to provide staffers with a place to share concerns or constructive feedback about the paper as they relate to identity and DEIB. This is just one step towards better supporting staffers at the ‘Prince’.

The goals of the DEIB committee also extend past the newsroom. In order to more effectively and sensitively cover Princeton’s communities, this committee met with campus leaders over coffee as part of a larger relationship building project. We also piloted a content review project, reviewing our coverage and evaluating for potential missteps. It is our hope that these initiatives will further build — or rebuild — trust and connections with Princeton’s communities, especially those that have been overlooked or misrepresented by the ‘Prince’. We believe these projects can serve as the foundation for more robust community engagement and accountability, necessary for improving our readers’ and staff's views on our coverage.

As you read through this third annual DEIB report, we hope you gain a better understanding of the ‘Prince’, its present demographics and climate, and its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We end this report with goals for the upcoming year. Hold us accountable to these goals. The Daily Princetonian can only be as great as its fidelity to community-informed and staff-supporting journalism is strong. We wish to acknowledge and thank the 147 Managing Board for their contributions. We appreciate Elaine Huang for making the accompanying data visualizations and graphs, and Yacoub Kahkajian and Vasila Mirshamsova. Thank you to Rohit Narayanan, Hope Perry, Katherine Dailey, and the rest of Upper Management for their continued support and guidance. Lastly, a tremendous thank you to the staffers who took the time to fill out our survey, and to the communities that continue to engage with us.

Christofer Robles
DEIB Chair of the 147th Managing Board