The Chronicle's 2022-23 update on diversity, equity and inclusion



The Chronicle’s Volume 116 made a commitment to promote racial justice within both the Duke community and our internal organization. This volume, 118, has sought to continue and build upon these efforts. 

Our diversity and inclusion efforts continue to center three main goals. The first is to center race and class in how we do our journalism and frame our stories, engaging community in the process. The second is to institutionalize progress towards our diversity, equity and inclusion goals, devoting time and resources to this effort. The third is recruiting a diverse staff by transforming The Chronicle into a platform trusted by diverse members or the university and wider community. 

Demographic data

Chronicle staff were asked to complete a mid-year Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey in January 2022 to gauge staff demographics and inclusion within the organization. The survey received 96 responses, exceeding the number of responses last year. This is the third year of The Chronicle surveying and reporting staff demographic and inclusion data.

Of the respondents, 50% identified as white, 45% identified as Asian or Asian American, 14% identified as multiracial, 10% identified as Black or African American, 8% identified as Hispanic or Latinx/e and 1% identified as Indigenous American or Alaskan Native. These totals exceed 100% as 11 respondents selected multiple races/ethnicities.

Compared to the Duke undergraduate population of fall 2022 — in which Asian American students make up 21% of the population and Caucasian students make up 37% of the population—white and Asian Americans are overrepresented in The Chronicle. 

Meanwhile, Hispanic students, who make up 11% of the Duke population, are underrepresented in The Chronicle. The proportion of Black students in The Chronicle is one percentage point higher than the Duke population. This matches staff demographic trends from last year and indicates a need to recruit widely in following years. 

Women comprise 55% of the Duke’s fall 2022 undergraduate population. Of The Chronicle’s survey respondents, 63% identify as female, 36% identify as male and 1% preferred not to answer. 2% of Chronicle staff indicated they do not identify with their gender assigned at birth.

Additionally, compared to 52% of Duke students on need-based financial aid, only about 43% of Chronicle staff are on financial aid. Moreover, 8% of all staff identify as first-generation and 8% are international students. 

Organizational inclusion

The survey also asked questions to assess levels of inclusion and belonging of staff within The Chronicle. Questions ranged from comfort asking department editors for help to The Chronicle’s commitment to a safe and supportive environment. 

Of the respondents, 26% are on News staff, 20% are on Opinion staff, 23% are on Photo staff, 23% are on Sports staff and 16% are on Recess staff. These totals exceed 100% as some respondents indicated multiple departmental affiliations. 

The highest proportion of staff indicated they “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed that they have grown and improved in their role throughout their time at The Chronicle (99%) and that all staff are treated with respect at The Chronicle, regardless of level of experience (87%).

The highest percentage also indicated that The Chronicle is a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ individuals (80%), that The Chronicle is a safe and supportive environment for womxn and gender minorities (97%) and that The Chronicle is a safe and supportive environment for BIPOC individuals (97%). 

The lowest proportion of staff indicated they “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed that they have made meaningful friendships through The Chronicle (69%) and that The Chronicle feels interdepartmentally “cohesive” (39%). This could indicate the need for cross departmental community-building. 

Actions this year

As last year, each department instituted a revised mentorship structure to give new staff members opportunities to build relationships with current editors. In News, for example, editors hosted small group events with the intention of encouraging staffers to feel comfortable approaching editors for help.

The goal of the structure also encourages staffers to feel comfortable pursuing leadership roles. According to the survey this year, 45% of non-senior, non-editor staff members indicated they intended to apply for higher or leadership positions in The Chronicle. 

The news department continued its system from last year for writers and editors to integrate coverage of diverse communities and angles into our everyday work habits. When pitching story ideas, staff must consider why a story is relevant for the Duke community and how the story helps The Chronicle work towards our DEI goals. The department also reimplemented a beats system, deepening community connections and relationships. 

Staff continue to use an internal resource to help them report and write across identities to ensure they are using language that is fair, accurate and inclusive. The resource includes guides such as the Global Press Style Guide and the National Association of Black Journalists Style Guide.

The Chronicle also continued its efforts to promote reader engagement with our coverage, including a texting service in which readers can suggest topics of interest that we may have overlooked. 

Looking ahead

This year, all Chronicle leadership participated in Anti-Racist Table Stakes training to identify DEI goals and evaluate The Chronicle’s relationship to the community. Some of these goals, including internally auditing our coverage to understand how our coverage reflects our DEI commitments, creating a tracker for published student demands and including DEI in feedback discussions with new writers, have been implemented this year.

Others, including increasing our sports features coverage, creating a DEI handbook and disseminating a reader survey will become priorities for the next volume, 119. 

DEI Coordinator Preetha Ramachandran will work closely with Volume 119’s DEI coordinators, Milla Surjadi and Anisha Reddy, to ensure they are well set up to recommit to The Chronicle’s DEI vision in fall 2023.

Preetha Ramachandran profile
Preetha Ramachandran | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator

Preetha Ramachandran is a Trinity senior and diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator for The Chronicle's 118th volume. She was previously senior editor for Volume 117.


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