I joined the Raven Report my freshman year because I loved to write about things that were important to me and that I felt needed to be talked about. The publication provided opportunities to do so. During this first year, I regularly heard our editors encourage the class to try our best to write articles that appealed to many people at Sequoia and to not just cover topics about the IB diploma, unpopular sports, or pop culture that only a small portion of our school keeps up with.
This year, I returned to the Raven Report dedicated to writing more stories that appeal to a wider group. To do so, I returned to help create a well-rounded, diverse paper that truly reflects our student body and is accessible to more of our community. This is a story about why it’s a problem that none of our current editors and very few of last year’s interviewees are Latinx. It’s a story about how a group of people who want diversity and who believe in equality inherently couldn’t reflect this in the coverage of the Raven Report. It’s a story that matters not because the happenings of one high school paper are important, but because we demonstrate a problem that’s playing out right now all over the country in different environments. This is the story of how we are changing things and this is a pledge to not only tell the story of how we’ve failed in the past, but also how we are making changes, starting now, to talk to more of our students and address stories important to them.
We student reporters understand that we have represented only part of our school for years. Last year alone, Sequoia had a Latinx student population of 48.15 percent, yet only 12.1 percent of Raven Report interviewees for the entire year were Latinx. While this may not sound problematic for someone who isn’t familiar with reporting or news, interviewees typically make the article. They act as the outside sources of information and opinions beyond the knowledge of the reporter. Having diverse interviewees speaking on different perspectives makes an article that much more informative and accurate to the population they represent.
While having more diverse interviewees would help this problem in some ways, there’s no better solution than having diverse students covering and writing articles themselves. Diversity exists in many forms; all of which are valid and should be taken into account, however, it’s inequitable that we ignore the ways of a culture that makes up almost half of our campus and community population.
However, the factor of reporting which makes an article more informative, effective and representative is the diverse group of reporters writing the articles. We choose what we write. We choose topics important to us. Yet because our journalists are largely Caucasian and living in a similar, middle class bubble, many of the stories we write and the people we interview do not adequately address topics that are important to our Latinx and non-white student body. Diversity in writers brings along diversity in story ideas and perspectives.
So, we pledge to to change our practices in an effort to diversify our topics, our writers and our writing styles. Starting with this issue of the Raven Report, and for each issue thereafter, we will actively dedicate space for at least one article written in Spanish by a native Spanish speaker, addressing a topic important to our Latinx student body, in which those students feel is newsworthy and needs to be addressed. Each article will be printed in our magazine and published on our website. Initially, students from one of our Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes will be invited to participate in the writing and printing process. Many of Sequoia’s diverse students who are enrolled in an AVID class are motivated, hardworking, enthusiastic, and are willing and ready to report on newsworthy topics they encounter. If you are in an AVID class and are interested in making your voice and opinions heard, let your teacher know and they can reach out to any of our editors.
Entonces, nos comprometemos a cambiar nuestras prácticas en un esfuerzo por diversificar nuestros temas, nuestros escritores y nuestros estilos de escritura. Comenzando con este número del Reporte Raven, y para cada uno de los siguientes, dedicaremos activamente espacio para al menos un artículo escrito en español por un hablante nativo de español, que aborde un tema importante para nuestro cuerpo estudiantil de Latino, en el que los estudiantes sienten que es de interés periodístico y necesita ser abordado. Cada artículo se imprimirá en nuestra revista y se publicará en nuestro sitio web. Inicialmente, los estudiantes de una de nuestras clases de Avance Vía Determinación Individual (AVID) serán invitados a participar en el proceso de escritura e impresión. Muchos de nuestros diversos estudiantes que están inscritos en una clase AVID están motivados, son trabajadores, entusiastas y están dispuestos y listos para informar sobre temas de interés periodístico que encuentren. Si está en una clase de AVID y está interesado en hacer que su voz y sus opiniones sean escuchadas, hágaselo saber a su maestro y pueden comunicarse con cualquiera de nuestros editores.