The importance of diversity and perspectives in a newsroom

A newsroom needs to remain objective and deliver news as it happens, without bias or misinformation. 

The Reporter is a newspaper run by the students, for the students, all of them. It helps that the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus is home to over 1,500 international students, and that number has been steadily rising according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors Report. In addition, MSU’s LGBT Center, which was the second center of its kind on a campus, has been around for 44 years helps provide more depth to the student life here. It only makes sense for the student newspaper to tell the stories and the happenings of such a diverse and lively campus, and do so accurately.

One of the ways The Reporter has taken this into account is by making sure we are making an effort to train editors, writers and photographers to be respectful to others and their perspectives. Mankato has become a melting pot of people with a variety of different identities and backgrounds, and the first step to accurate reporting is to acknowledge that. A newspaper exists to serve its community. 

Not being aware of the diversity among the student body is akin to walking on a rope between two mountains with a blindfold on. The Reporter has made a constant effort the previous couple of years to make sure our news coverage is comprehensive to not only include, but fairly represent those people and organizations that our paper talks to.

It is important to take into account that as essential as it is to cover stories regarding people from diverse backgrounds, it is just as important to give them an opportunity to be a part of our team. This not only helps provide a much more accurate tone of certain topics, but also gives people from different backgrounds a platform to work and add their perspectives to our coverage.

Furthermore, a great byproduct of working with people from backgrounds not similar to yours is the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas, methodologies and practices that many members of our team would have no idea existed. People from different cultures approach challenges with different mindsets, and it is helpful to learn and apply them to our individual lives.

To tie it back to the community, students from diverse backgrounds should feel encouraged to interact with, and work for, their newspaper and express their concerns and comments in letters to the editor.

It is near impossible to completely represent a population within a newsroom without having representation inside the newsroom. Through the diversity of people comes the diversity of ideas, and a wide spread of ideas is at the heart of any great news organization. 

As the Reporter continues to develop and move into the future, it is vital to the overall health of the organization and the campus as a whole to adequately and fairly represent the student population.

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