Diversity and Inclusion

As a student working at KOLD-TV, alumna Stephanie Soto helped create the first Southern Arizona app for Spanish-speaking news consumers (see story). She's now at Telemundo.

At the University of Arizona School of Journalism we seek to include, foster and support students with diverse life experiences and varying cultural, gender, ethnic and racial backgrounds who are traditionally missing in mainstream media. We are constantly challenging the ways we value diversity in our school and across the journalist industry, seeking to train and inspire all our students to work in a more equitable and just media landscape. To that end, the school is committed to proactively fostering diversity, equity and inclusion throughout its curriculum, hiring and day-to-day practices.

In the classroom. Each year faculty members compile and review their efforts to promote diversity throughout classes and throughout the program. See the latest 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Report for the 2018-19 school year.

National nomination: In January 2020, the school submitted a nomination for the Equity & Diversity Award, given by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). 

 Systematic improvement. The school’s Diversity and Inclusivity Plan outlines what the school is doing to foster diversity and inclusion in the program.

 Outside of class. School clubs enhance the student experience, including student chapters of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Native American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, and Asian American Journalists Association.

• Communications. School diversity coordinator Maggy Zanger leads the school diversity listserv and school diversity Facebook page. She can be reached at zanger@email.arizona.edu.

• Listening to students. The school surveyed students in October 2016 to assess the climate of diversity and found that most students believe the school supports diverse students, but that the faculty could be more diverse. The school also held a “listening tour” on Dec. 2, 2016, to gather insights and perceptions from students about their experiences in and outside of class. 

• Looking at ourselves. An assessment of the school’s diversity efforts is provided in our national accreditation self-study. See the 2017-18 report and compare it to the 2011-12 report to see the school’s progress on diversity and inclusion. The school passed all nine standards for reacreditation in 2017-18, including diversity and inclusion. What the site team had to say.

• Mentoring youth. For more than 35 years, the school has hosted a high school summer workshop for diverse high school students to inspire them to consider careers in journalism. Many of the students then came to the UA, graduated, and are now working journalists.

• Recruiting diverse faculty. The school started a faculty visiting diversity fellow program – hosting a promising scholar who would be a good fit for the school to speak about issues important to disadvantaged populations. We feel we must be proactive to recruit the best and most diverse faculty to represent the students we serve. The first visiting scholar was Jessica Retis of Cal State Northridge in February 2017. The UA School of Journalism hired Retis as an associate professor and Ruxandra Guidi as an assistant professor of practice in summer 2019. Retis is helping the school develop a bilingual journalism program, starting with a master's degree, thanks to a provost's grant.

• Safe Zones. Many faculty members, including the school director, have undergone Safe Zone training to support LGBTQ-plus students. Look for the Safe Zone sign.

Internships: Students can contact Renée Schafer Horton for internships that might include diversity opportunities.

High school workshop: A tradition for four decades, the Donald W. Carson Journalism Diversity Workshop for Arizona High School Students in early June teaches teens about reporting basics, media ethics, broadcast and multimedia journalism, design and editing, and different storytelling techniques.

• Here to listen. If anyone feels discriminated against, they are encouraged to contact School Director Carol Schwalbe or campus resources such as the Dean of Students (student-on-student discrimination) or the Office of Institutional Equity (allegations of discrimination by faculty or staff). Don’t be silent.

(From left) Ava Garcia and Rocky Baier developed a health mobile website and fellow students Erin Thomson and Phillip Bramwell created an accessibility app for the Arizona Daily Star (see story).

Thomas Lard (Salome HS), a participant in the Donald W. Carson Journalism Diversity Workshop for Arizona High School Students, flies a drone with help from UA journalism alumna Christianna Silva (see story).

Alums (from left) Kristina Bui, Brittny Mejia, Stephen Ceasar and Marisa Gerber helped the L.A. Times win a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for their reporting and editing contributions to the San Bernardino mass shooting (see story).

Bakina Wellars from Rwanda participates in News Hack Arizona, learning data journalism and coding skills with Arizona Daily Star staffers.

Student Victor Garcia asks Washington Post reporter Dana Priest a question at the 2016 Zenger Award dinner. Seated at the table is Frank Sotomayor, vice chair of the school's Journalism Advisory Council who helped the L.A. Times win a 1984 Pulitzer for its series on Latino issues.