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The Anatomy of Chicago’s Student Newsrooms

How diverse are student newspapers, really?

By and Featured, News

The lack of diversity in student newsrooms is a national problem. Like other professional news publications, student newspapers across the country are often led by white students, while the representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) student journalists is minimal.

At the Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University’s student-run newspaper, it took 140 years for a Black woman to lead the publication. A 2021 study also found that of the 73 editors-in-chief at award-winning college newsrooms in the spring 2021 semester, less than 6 percent were Black and about 10 percent were Latinx — significantly lower than their representation in the college population. Our own newsmagazine at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, F Newsmagazine, suffered from a lack of representation because at one point there wasn’t a single Black student on the editorial staff. 

Recognizing the importance of diverse newsrooms in student newspapers, F Newsmagazine is highlighting the state of diversity at five Chicago-based student news publications: F Newsmagazine (SAIC), The Daily Northwestern (Northwestern University), The Loyola Phoenix (Loyola University Chicago), The Independent (Northeastern Illinois University) and the Chicago Maroon (University of Chicago). (F Newsmagazine reached out to all student publications at Chicago-based colleges. Only the staff of Loyola and The Independent responded and shared their data with us, while for the Maroon and The Daily, we used the data publicly available on their websites).

Newsroom diversity makes a difference. Student newsrooms should reflect the ever-growing diversity of the student body. F strongly believes in this. We hope this information will give readers a sense of how diverse their student newspapers are and how the publication can improve to bring in more diverse voices.

(Editor’s note: The data presented comes from primary and secondary sources and may not be exact for the current staff demographics of these publications.)

Ankit Khadgi (MAVCS 2024) is a Nepali journalist based in Chicago. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Guardian, the Kathmandu Post, and the Gaysi Family.
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