The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Lack of diversity isn’t addressed in college newsrooms as it should be

Photo+courtesy+Clay+Banks%2FUnsplash
Photo courtesy Clay Banks/Unsplash

Juan Salinas II
campus editor

Two weeks ago, I attended a virtual round table for Hispanic journalists with my editor-in-chief. It was nice to talk with my brothers and sisters that want to pursue journalism as a career. The question about how diverse our newsrooms are was asked, and the answers shocked me.

I was culture-shocked by the low numbers of Hispanics in these college newspapers. Even while researching for this piece, I had trouble finding concrete numbers for diversity in college newsrooms. This is upsetting because college newspapers should be more transparent about how many people of color have positions in the newspapers. What I was able to find didn’t paint a pretty picture.

An investigation was done in 2021 by Voices — a student program from the Asian American Journalists Association — showing that out of 72 editors-in-chief from across the country, only 12 of these positions are held by a Hispanic. In comparison, 43 of these editors-in-chief are white. The rest are from different racial backgrounds.

During the discussion, the other journalists discussed the lack of diversity in their newsrooms. As my shock subsided, the speaker asked us how we could address this.

The answer to how we can make college newsrooms more diverse seems pretty apparent to me — better wages or, in some cases, pay reporters and editors in the first place.

The same Voices investigation shows that 25 of 72 editors-in-chief get paid more than $7.25 per hour. Our editor-in-chief gets paid $12 per hour, and I’m happy that he is getting a suitable amount of money — still not enough, mind you — for his hard work. But, on the other hand, Campus Editors like myself only get paid $8.75.

Based on the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances conducted by The Federal Reserve, the most recent year available, white families had a median wealth of $188,200, compared to $24,100 for Black families and $36,100 for Hispanic families. This statistic just reinforces that it’s much harder for people of color to pay for higher education. We often rely on scholarships to pay for it.

First-generation students already have a considerable workload with school, jobs and having to apply for scholarships all at the same time. The worst part is, there’s a lack of support in our journey. Expecting first-generation Hispanic students that are scratching and crawling for upward mobility to have the time to work at a newspaper for the current low wage, or none at all is just insulting.

I understand that I have a socioeconomic privilege to take this job as I don’t have so-called “grown-up bills” to pay yet. However, suppose I didn’t have my family’s support while in school. Then I probably wouldn’t have been able to quit my $15 an hour retail job for the paper. To have a more diverse newsroom, offer better wages. It’s as simple as that.

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