D&I at The Crimson
One of the core tenets of The Crimson’s mission is to represent a diverse community with our own staff and our coverage. For decades, countless Crimeds have dedicated themselves to improving diversity and inclusion at The Crimson, but we recognize that we as an organization have not done enough to support Black, Latinx, and other students of color on our staff and at Harvard College. As the nation’s oldest continuously published college daily, we also recognize our role as a training ground for the next generation of journalists and the impact we can have on diversifying the industry going forward.
Our Diversity & Inclusivity Committee has led our efforts to do better in this regard since it was formed in 2015. The committee serves as a forum for staff members of all boards, guards, and backgrounds to voice concerns related to diversity and inclusivity in the building. It also functions as a task force and advisory body for the President on these issues.
Mission of D&I and Role of Chairs
Each year, The Crimson appoints two to three staff members as chairs of the D&I committee. The chairs facilitate the D&I committee as a forum to discuss issues and brainstorm solutions; lead proactive building-wide initiatives related to diversity; and work to recruit and retain a staff that looks like the community we report on. Its work is done while bearing in mind the composition of the staff and The Crimson’s past failures with communities of color.
History of D&I
The D&I committee has formed a number of task forces over the years to examine what we can do to improve the diversity of our staff. In 2019, the committee voted to form task forces to examine building culture at The Crimson and address the socioeconomic diversity of our staff. The culture taskforce produced a handout with tips for sensitive reporting and working with marginalized groups on and off campus. The socioeconomic taskforce worked to address transportation and food concerns, better pub the financial aid program, make comps more accessible, and clarify the Crimson’s reimbursement processes.
In 2018, the D&I Committee created the Cross-Board Mentorship Program, which worked to foster a greater sense of community and cohesion across lines of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status in the building. Also that year, task forces issued recommendations on social life at The Crimson, The Crimson’s recruitment and training as well as its leadership selection process to make these more accessible, equitable, and inclusive.
Current Initiatives and Working Groups
Content History Task Force
The Content History Task Force aims to produce a report that details previous reporting decisions that were insensitive or harmful to communities of color. The report will include a summary of the decision, feedback received from our readers about the reporting, and recommendations on how to avoid a similar situation in the future. Eventually, this work will be presented to staff members and compers.
Traditions Task Force
The Traditions Task Force is examining how events and historical conventions at The Crimson and its individual boards are viewed by staff members and those outside the building. The task force will interview members of each board about intra-board traditions and distribute a building-wide survey to gauge sentiments on building-wide traditions. It will produce a report with recommendations for how to make these traditions more inclusive for all participants.
Speaker Series Working Group
The Speaker Series Working Group aims to bring a diverse group of media professionals and journalists to The Crimson to discuss topics, such as current debates around objectivity in reporting and how to report on communities of colors. The speaker series centers voices of color, women, and queer voices from outside of large, legacy U.S. news organizations.
Alumni Mentorship Program
The D&I Committee has recruited a number of alumni to serve as mentors to current staff members, which is aimed at improving retention, especially among staff members of color.
Subsidizing student memberships to journalism affinity organizations
The Committee is also implementing a program to purchase student memberships to journalism affinity groups for our staff members who are part of the Financial Aid Program.
Please find attached here a copy of The Crimson’s 2020 Staff Diversity Report.