The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

Platform: Engagement is key to our future

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As journalism becomes increasingly digital, our choices keep expanding, and creative thinking is more important than ever. When we make big decisions in the newsroom, I want the brain trust participating in those conversations to be as rich as possible — which means as diverse as possible. Next year, we’ll accomplish digital fluency by engaging with our community and reflecting its diversity within the newsroom.

Understanding our community

No one wants to contribute to a project they don’t see themselves in, and a publication that doesn’t reflect the community it serves cannot succeed. We have to recruit more people of color and other minorities — and we have to improve our retention by making sure the DTH is a positive and welcoming place to work.

Along with hiring and promoting with diversity in mind, we have to be conscious about improving minority representation in our story ideas, sourcing and everywhere else. Doing anything less is unfair to the newsroom and to our readers.

I see reaching outside the newsroom as a two-way street. I’ll require editors to have regular meetings with key sources, because talking one-on-one is educational for everyone involved. We’ll also organize events to spark conversations and make it clear to our readers that we want feedback.

Our responsibility to the community

The DTH’s website attracts substantially more readers every day than the print paper. “Digital first” is not a catchy phrase but a reality: everyone on next year’s staff has to be a digital journalist, and we have to respect our readers by respecting everything we publish online.

I’ll separate the jobs of online managing editor and digital desk editor, so the person in each role has time and energy to excel. We’ll also require three reads for every piece published on the website. Skipping reads for online stories signals a lack of respect for the story and, by extension, the staffer who created it, and that has to change.

Capitalizing on our role

We can round out our role as a source for information by expanding our community services. We already have a housing guide, and we’ll add a jobs board along the same lines. Employers will be able to pay to post jobs in a convenient place online. The DTH should be a one-stop shop for convenient information, in these sections and in our reporting.



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