Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Our View | Reaffirming our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

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The Crimson White editorial board consists of Editor-in-Chief Ashlee Woods; Managing Editor Carson Lott; Engagement Editor Ronni Rowan; Opinions Editor Victor Hagan; and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chairperson Jeffrey Kelly. 

With the 10th anniversary of The Crimson White’s “Final Barrier” story today, The Crimson White’s editorial board would be remiss not to take this opportunity to reflect and address The CW’s past and future as a publication.  

“We have called out administrative silence, but we have also legitimized it. We have raged against the Machine, but we have also excused it. Throughout those 125 years, we have centered white students and white stories. We are not enemies of the people. But we are not always heroes either. It’s long past time that we look inward and make sustainable changes to the way we do news.” 

 The 2020-21 Crimson White editorial board wrote those words three years ago during a period of political turmoil, social unrest and uncertainty that spurred several companies, organizations and groups — like The CW — to address their internal diversity issues.  

Now, in 2023, The Crimson White is addressing our shortcomings since that piece was published, in an effort to reaffirm that promise those five women made to the University in 2020.   

What has worked 

At the time that piece was written, only two Black men and no women of color had held the position of editor-in-chief. Since then, two women of color have taken up the task of leading the student newspaper. If The Crimson White desires to put more diverse voices in and throughout the framework of the paper, those same voices must be in leadership positions helping create the necessary relationships.  

The Crimson White has also taken the time to ensure that minority voices are included in our stories and images. Under the direction of former Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Griesbach, two race and identity reporters were added to our staff, designed to carry out robust and nuanced reporting of minority issues and topics on campus. The Crimson White also added the regular practice of source reporting modeled after publications like NPR and Wisconsin Public Radio. This was another way The Crimson White ensured that diverse voices were at the forefront of our reporting.  

What we’re changing  

However, what the current editorial board has found is that although you may have leaders of different shades, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, intentionality will always reign supreme in implementing true diversity, equity and inclusion.  

The Crimson White must strive to adhere to an ethical guideline built around care, nuance and tactfulness. With this in mind, The Crimson White has decided to create a mission statement that has been shared among the staff and now will be shared with the UA community.  

Staff members and contributors will work together to create and maintain a safe, diverse and collaborative newsroom that prioritizes accurate and compelling storytelling. The Crimson White will also be committed to covering historically underrepresented communities in media with tact and nuance. To best prepare staff members for professional jobs and internships in media, The Crimson White will also work to give contributors the chance to add bylines, while also giving them tools and training with industry professionals. 

This statement is a foundation for many of the new practices and elements The Crimson White has adopted this year.  

Arguably the most important move The Crimson White has made in our efforts to address our internal issues of diversity, equity and inclusion is the addition of a diversity, equity and inclusion chairperson. In the past, The Crimson White has not done an adequate job ensuring that these issues remain at the forefront of our minds in everyday coverage. The addition of this position not only to the staff but also to the editorial board is an intentional decision that underscores this year’s staff’s desire not only to grow as reporters, but to prepare our newsroom for the future.  

The Crimson White’s editorial board also acknowledges our failure in the past to be completely transparent about our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. That is something we want to rectify this year, so below is a list of other practices The Crimson White is implementing this year.  

Reworking our source-reporting system. 

  • Under the careful guidance of The CW’s diversity, equity and inclusion chairperson, staff members and editors will record the race, identity and background of sources we use in our stories with a voluntary anonymous survey given to sources after interviews. These records will be compiled into a monthly source report available to the editorial staff to help us track our progress and hold ourselves accountable.  
  • In addition, The CW will create an end-of-year staff diversity report and source diversity report that will be available to the public.  

Increasing the diversity of sources and staff. 

  • This year, The CW aims to increase the use of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, women and other minority sources. Our goal is to incorporate at least two in our articles where their voices are needed and valuable, with one being an “expert” voice (a professor, faculty member, coach, player, etc.).  
  • With our recruitment efforts, the managing editor has updated the application process to collect demographic information, so The CW better understands what communities we’re not reaching and can strategize how to best recruit and retain diverse contributors. The information is shared only with the editor-in-chief and managing editor.  

Hosting multiple diversity, equity and inclusion training sessions spread throughout the year. 

  • The diversity, equity and inclusion chairperson and the editorial board will plan two to four training sessions centered on issues of diversity in media. These training courses are designed to help contributors, staff members and editors learn how to spot these issues and resolve them in a healthy manner. The trainings will also include writing and reporting workshops led by minority media professionals.  
  • Updating the current CW house style guide. 
  • The chief copy editor; the diversity, equity and inclusion chairperson; and the editor-in-chief will work together to update the current CW style guide. This will include a detailed section on how to ethically report on groups, events, organizations and issues that involve minority groups on campus. The updated style guide will pull inspiration from professional style guides from organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association and adapt coverage techniques and terminology into our own style guide. 

Creating strategic partnerships. 

  • The Crimson White will look to build relationships with student organizations and leaders on campus. These relationships will serve two purposes: to provide the newspaper with a more diverse pool of potential applicants and repair relationships with certain community groups on campus.  

To further our efforts toward transparency, The Crimson White would like to share our in-house diversity statement that all editors have signed.  

 The Crimson White would also like to acknowledge that the last three years show that while working toward creating sustainable change within our publication and upholding diversity, equity and inclusion in coverage, we’ve hit stumbling blocks and suffered various growing pains that are synonymous with the learning that’s needed to be truly equitable and inclusive.  

These growing pains will not deter us from continuing to work toward our goal of ethical and equitable coverage of the UA community. 

The Crimson White’s Diversity Statement

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