The Daily Northwestern’s 2021-22 diversity report

Since its creation in 2018, the diversity and inclusion team at The Daily Northwestern has released annual staff diversity reports to remain transparent about our composition and coverage. While we are constantly striving to maintain and improve equity initiatives at the paper, The Daily is still far from internally representing its commitment to diversity. 

Newsroom diversity determines the range of perspectives in the room when we report, edit and design our content.  It also informs the subjects that we ultimately cover in the Northwestern and Evanston communities. 

The following metrics reflect our newsroom composition for the 2021-22 academic year. This year, the diversity report encompasses data from all three quarters, outlining the changes in the paper’s composition from fall to spring. We are committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse staff, and we welcome feedback from the community on any part of our diversity and inclusion efforts. 

Editor’s Note: The number of responses received between quarters during the school year fluctuates. In Fall Quarter 2021, our sample size was 85, which increased to 99 in Winter Quarter 2022 and decreased to 73 in Spring Quarter 2022. Comparisons between quarters should be examined with this in mind. 

Survey Results:

Spring 2022 – all staff

This year, The Daily became more specific with racial and ethnic identification, breaking down our former category of Asian into East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander. This change was gradually incorporated, so there may be some gaps in the data displayed. Pacific Islander data remained combined with East Asian data until Spring Quarter. Finally, the Daily still does not have a more specific tracking system for Latine sources and is working on diversifying our data collection to incorporate details about cultural backgrounds. 

The Daily’s demographics mostly line up with the University’s Class of 2025 profile. We slightly overrepresent white and Asian American staffers and underrepresent Latine and Black staffers. Since our Asian American data is more specific than NU’s, which is still grouped under one category, making direct comparisons is more difficult. 

The Class of 2025 is 12% Black and 16.8% Latine compared to 5.5% Black and 12.3% Latine staffers on The Daily as of spring quarter. In fall, The Daily’s staff was 4.8% Black and 8.4% Latine. The slight increase in spring quarter is not due to an increase in Black and Latine staffers, but rather a decrease in overall staff members.

During the 2021-22 academic year, The Daily had only one Indigenous staffer, and no Indigenous staffers in leadership positions. The continued underrepresentation of staffers of marginalized identities in the newsroom affects our culture and coverage at all levels. Finding ways to improve retention has been critical going into recruitment this fall. 

The Daily is also working on how to count biracial and multiracial staff. We currently track individuals who identify with multiple races by counting them in each category, so numbers exceed 100%. This is consistent with how NU composes its class profiles. 

Gender and sexuality

Spring 2022 – all staff

The Daily’s staffers predominantly identify as cisgender women, which has been a consistent trend since we started collecting metrics in 2018. During Spring Quarter, 2.7% of staffers identified as nonbinary or gender queer, which declined from Fall Quarter with 7.1%. This may be due to the overall decline in staffers from winter to spring. However, the number of LGBTQ+ staffers remained fairly consistent from fall to spring, from 40% in fall to 38.3% in spring.

The majority of staffers on The Daily’s spring editorial board identify as LGBTQ+. A majority of the editorial board also identifies as cisgender women, consistent with the numbers for all staff.

 Socioeconomic diversity

According to the University’s undergraduate admissions office, 61% of students receive financial aid. At The Daily, 50.7% of spring staffers reported receiving financial aid, compared to Fall Quarter’s 44.7%. Since last fall, the number of first-generation students has declined from 4.7% to 2.7%. However, the number of low-income students increased from 11.8% in fall to 13.7% in spring.

The Daily can be a significant time commitment, especially for editorial board members, which makes the paper an often inaccessible space for students who need to work during the school year. While The Daily has implemented some measures — including stipend programs — to alleviate the issue, we are always looking for more ways to support FGLI students.


This year, The Daily took several steps toward improving diversity and inclusion, though there is still work to be done. 

Beginning in spring 2021, copy editors spent multiple quarters revising The Daily’s style guide for more inclusive and representative language. In March 2022, we began using the term Latine instead of Latinx, added Indigenous terminology and created more specific guidelines for describing gender identity. 

Staffer retention has been a consistent issue at The Daily. Though staff numbers increased between fall and winter, from 85 to 99, it decreased notably in spring to 73. Newsroom representation is essential, not only because The Daily is committed to inclusion, but also because increased diversity means more thorough coverage of our campus and Evanston. The Daily is working to become a more accessible space. 

Publishing a diversity report ensures we hold ourselves accountable, and we encourage other student papers to take similar initiatives in their newsrooms. 

Related Stories: 

The Daily Northwestern’s Spring Quarter 2021 Diversity Report

The Daily Northwestern’s Winter Quarter 2021 Diversity Report

The Daily Northwestern’s Fall Quarter 2020 Diversity Report