Equity Board Brief #22

Equity Board Impact

 

Evaluating the Impact of the Equity Board

Hey everyone, 

It’s been quite the semester, as it always is with USC being USC. This brief is a little bit more emotional because this will possibly be my very last EB brief. When Equity Board began, we had no idea what it would be and the kind of content we’d create. After spending five and a half years at USC, I can honestly say that a lot has changed since I first stepped foot in the media center. I came to USC in 2016 as an architecture major, already unsure if that was my calling. Joining the journalism school was pivotal for me because I saw the work and impact I could make on media. 

 

I’m reminded of the impact we, as journalists, have on culture and the overall socio-political landscape of media. What we highlight in our stories and the events that we report depict what will be brought up in homes, schools, workplaces, and the general public. That is why it is incredibly important we understand how to report respectfully and equitably on underrepresented communities. It matters how we present people and why it is important to uphold truth and transparency in our reporting. 

I’m reminded of the impact we, as journalists, have on culture and the overall socio-political landscape of media.

The first story I wrote at Annenberg Media was on the experiences of working students at USC, balancing multiple jobs and studies. Working on the story was difficult because of the hesitancy editors had for me to work on a large project like that one during my MJ shifts. I still fought for the story despite the scrutiny. By the end of the semester, I published a story that I felt proud of. As I continued in the journalism school, inequalities slowly made themselves visible and by the time I graduated undergrad, I was fed up. I was ready to leave. I thought I’d be done with USC in 2020, but much like a lot of people’s plans, COVID altered the trajectory of my future. I returned to USC for a progressive degree and I knew that if I came back, I’d be doing so with a plan in mind to create change. 

 

EB came along as an opportunity to address everything that I had seen throughout the years. 

 

What the Equity Board Has Accomplished

Since starting this position, we’ve created an equitable reporting guide, developed the board, introduced a new policy, and provided support and focused editing/advice on diverse reporting. It’s something that not a lot of newsrooms have and that we’ve proven to be an important part of our growth as a publication. As this semester ends, I want to encourage everyone wherever they may be to fight for the stories you believe in. There will be newsrooms that reject pitches because it is too “different” or “unimportant” in their eyes. Trust your gut as a reporter and share the stories that need to be shared. When it comes to the actual act of reporting, always remember that diversity is more than just writing a story about a community. It is also about incorporating diverse voices into any and every story. The crux of a story does not have to be about an identity for it to be inclusive. The act of including voices often ignored is just as impactful, if not more. 

There will be newsrooms that reject pitches because it is too “different” or “unimportant” in their eyes. Trust your gut as a reporter and share the stories that need to be shared.

Best, 

Steven Vargas

 

About This Site

This is a resource hub to help student reporters at the Annenberg Media Center.

If you’re new to the Media Center, check out this one-page guide to see what it’s all about.

Contact the Media Center

Media Center Director, Professor Christina Bellantoni
bellanto@usc.edu
(213) 740-3874

Annenberg Media Executive Editor, Nataly Joseph
nvjoseph@usc.edu

Annenberg Media Assignment Desk:
(213) 740-3847

For equipment-related issues:
(213) 740-5739
ascequip@usc.edu
annenbergtechops.com