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The Daily Tar Heel

Platform: Diversity needed for DTH growth

Bradley Saacks is the University Editor. He is a junior journalism major from Cary.

Bradley Saacks is the University Editor. He is a junior journalism major from Cary.

My ideas for advancing The Daily Tar Heel next year center around one theme — that the Daily Tar Heel must diversify.

Diversity in newsroom, sourcing

Amid all its strengths, the paper still lacks a diverse set of perspectives within the newsroom. This extends beyond race and sexual orientation, of course. The Daily Tar Heel also needs more first-generation college students, transfers and non-traditional students in its newsroom.

The breakdown of editors from this academic year at The Daily Tar Heel is heavily skewed toward those majoring in journalism. The journalism school provides us with a great base of talent, but as the paper for the entire campus, our staff needs to contain editors involved in other programs at UNC.

The inability to recruit and retain non-journalism majors has led to a lack of diversity at the top. For recruiting, I will orient the message around letting people know that The Daily Tar Heel hires more than reporters — there are spots at our organization for any skill set.

Retaining these individuals is the second part of the process of diversifying our newsroom. To implement this, I am going to reserve spots on the editorial board for minority journalists. Furthermore, all desk editors will be required to consider a minority candidate for any assistant editor opening on their desks.

The only way for The Daily Tar Heel to work through this culture where minority journalists do not climb the ladder at the same rate as their white male counterparts is by enforcing and believing in serious measures. I also do not believe our writing, design, opinion, photo or editing quality will diminish in the slightest.

I will also challenge our reporters and editors to start developing better source relationships with a better variety of sources. There are diverse sources for every story; we just have to find them.

Expanding the brand

Next year, I want The Daily Tar Heel to capitalize on the wealth of talent it has in its own backyard.

The University has an excellent journalism school graduating capable broadcast journalists that often start at The Daily Tar Heel. Many of these students leave because their passion isn’t reporting stories for print.

The Daily Tar Heel is much more than just a print product. The name that appears on our social media accounts is “DTH Media” for a reason.

This idea could start with basic requirements — like taping important interviews and later publishing that video online. I think it’s a shame when we get individual access to someone like Carol Folt or Marcus Paige and only use six of their quotes because that is all that will fit in the paper.

And this multimedia idea could be so much more.

The Daily Tar Heel has been nationally recognized for its coverage of the ongoing athletic-academic scandal at the University and should capitalize on this knowledge by producing a weekly podcast on ongoing issues in college athletics.

The podcast would feature The Daily Tar Heel’s top editors and several of its beat reporters, as well as guests.

Another way we can expand our brand beyond print is through online-only content.

The online desk has also been underutilized at The Daily Tar Heel. The online desk keeps our social media on point and manages our award-winning website, but has not been given the resources to create its own content.

I want to invest in the online desk, restructuring it with another assistant and staffers who specialize in data journalism and interactive graphics.

Redesign of the paper

The days of 12-page papers are over. The Daily Tar Heel now has the opportunity to move into the next stage in its print design.

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Talking with our design editor Tyler Vahan, our current design is not sustainable for the amount of content created each day. There needs to be a tightening of the pages and the elimination of space-eating extras and flags.

As Tyler told me, it is a struggle everyday to fit our amazing content with our current design format.

I plan on tasking the design team to have a redesign ready for the first issue of next year. The redesign will implement more promo rails above the fold to draw the reader in, as well as diversify our headline fonts.

I believe this change allows us to also highlight our special issues and important front pages more. With less white space, the difference between a powerful front, like our Dean Smith commemorative issue, and the standard issue will be stark, drawing even more attention to the paper.

The Daily Tar Heel is an incredible organization, but we can grow. I have identified the areas where, while continuing our excellent print product, The Daily Tar Heel can excel. And if selected as editor, these will be the areas where you will see growth.

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