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Staff Editorial | The lack of diversity at ACP and in journalism

Recently The Campanil staff attended the 31st Annual Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) National College Journalism Convention in Universal City, California. While there, our staff noticed a lack of diversity among this convention.

For instance, we saw the lack of diversity and representation among the multiple staffs that represented school newspapers. There were few journalists of color and/or queer journalists, and if there were, they only circled and bonded with each other instead of the journalists from other schools.

We also noticed the lack of diversity within ACP’s keynote speakers, who were not able to give advice or answer questions to journalists of color, queer journalists or women journalists in the field. The panels attempting to promote diversity received small rooms to give useful information compared to those that focused on blogs that received far larger rooms.

Also, ACP and its keynote speakers focused on New York Times editor David Carr’s passing last month and its impact on the world of journalism, ignoring that Dori Maynard had passed last month as well. Maynard promoted diversity for journalists of color throughout her career and life, yet that was never really discussed. That said to us that contributions for representation and diversity do not matter. However, we do not believe this. The Campanil wants to play a role to increase representation and diversity, especially within our own staff.

At the California College Media Awards (CCMA) ceremony, we observed that some of the school publications that received awards promoted racism, homophobia and transphobia within their newspapers. We also saw that the publications winning awards for photos were for Ferguson protest stories, yet some of those publications viewed those winning photos as part of a commodification simply to win. Overall, the lack of diversity and representation at the convention was displayed through microaggressions, lack of advice and problematic issues expressed in other school publications. 

So, what did that say to us?

The Campanil felt a variety of emotions, ranging from anger to confusion to doubt. As a diverse staff of journalists and editors, the Campanil felt the impact of the lack of diversity and representation at the convention. From hosting our own panels and sessions to accepting our awards, we felt and saw that ACP’s convention was an unwelcoming space for marginalized people to receive advice to pursue their career goals in journalism or to assist with their school newspapers.

The Campanil realizes that barriers still have to be broken in the world of journalism. We know that those panels and keynote speakers were not qualified to give advice to marginalized writers, journalists and editors because of their lack of experience or struggle in this field. We must contribute to and/or create opportunities, safe spaces, networks and resources for women journalists, journalists of color and queer journalists. We also must encourage these writers to tell their stories and stories that they are passionate about and to give them a voice in this publication or any other publication.