According to a recent survey conducted by the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), Latine editors-in-chief at the college level are underrepresented. The survey was sent to 75 award-winning college newsrooms across the United States.
Of the 66 newspapers that responded, six of them stated that they had at least one student editor-in-chief on their staff who was Latine. Some newspapers said their editors were “two or more races,” but AAJA did not specify what races that included.
The college newspapers that said their editors identified as part of our communities are El Leñador at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California; The Ithacan at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York; The Knox Student at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois; El Don at Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, California; The Sun at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California; and Trinitonian at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
According to AAJA, only 11 percent of the editors-in-chief identified as Latinx, despite Latine students making up 22 percent of the total enrollment of all the schools.
“The data underscores the deep-seated lack of representation in American journalism amid a national reckoning with racial issues,” AAJA writes. “Student journalists – both white and nonwhite – told us that the overall lack of diversity in newsrooms resulted in failures to adequately report on underrepresented communities.”
Last year, Marissa Martinez, who is Black, Mexican, and Korean, was the editor-in-chief at The Daily Northwestern at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. While taking on that role, she advocated for the school to add a diversity and inclusion editor to the staff.
“I really do value intersections and finding the layers and depth to things that are not always represented in mainstream narratives,” she said according to AAJA.
One of the bright spots revealed in the survey was in Arcata, California, where El Leñador at Humboldt State University, a bilingual, student-run newspaper, boasts three Latine co-editors-in-chief. El Leñador, which launched in 2013, is separate from the school’s weekly newspaper, The Lumberjack.
“I don’t want to say [El Leñador] gives a voice to the voiceless, because we have a voice,” said co-editor-in-chief Sergio Berrueta. “We just haven’t gotten the right stage for it. I think El Leñador emphasizes that – by focusing on the stories that are relevant, that matter [and] that wouldn’t be covered otherwise.”