Clay Morris and Sonia Rao are The Daily Tar Heel’s 2022-2023 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team.
In the fall of 2020, The Daily Tar Heel introduced the Elevate section to combat gaps in coverage related to underrepresented communities. The section debuted online and later became a weekly spread in the print paper.
Later, Elevate editors were hired to oversee the section’s content and edit for sensitivity in order to avoid publishing harmful stories as the DTH has in the past. Since Elevate’s inception, it has been home to stories about student organizations, University history, North Carolina legislation and more.
We think that this section was important at its formation to force the newsroom to think critically about how it interacts with every community in Chapel Hill.
While we know The Daily Tar Heel is still in the early stages of reckoning with its history of failing to serve underrepresented communities, the work begun with Elevate in 2020 has become a part of every desk’s work and every story’s contents. Not just those tagged “Elevate” or edited by the “Elevate” editors.
Part of ensuring “Elevate” serves its purpose is to consistently evaluate its effectiveness and impact. And while we are proud of the journalism produced with the section, we want to make sure we think intentionally about our audience’s and the newsroom’s needs.
We don’t want to decide that on our own.
So, we’re surveying our readership and staff to hear their opinions on whether “Elevate” is still serving underrepresented communities instead of otherizing them.
For now, the Elevate section will continue to run in the paper, uninterrupted.