UCSB chooses to highlight its progression and inclusivity as a minority-serving institution. Yet, when we examine student-led organizations that are not explicitly culturally based, we see a common theme: whiteness.
For a long time, coverage at the Daily Nexus has typically been filtered through a white cisgendered lens. Redundant as it may sound, white cisgendered experiences cannot be representative, nor will they reflect other cultural and non-binary experiences here at UCSB.
As the diversity and inclusion (D&I) chairs of the Daily Nexus, we are excited to be able to use our platforms to enforce meaningful change in a predominately white institution by ensuring that one of their prominent media sources is held accountable for accurately representing marginalized voices here on campus. First, let us introduce ourselves:
My name is Pricila Flores, and I’m a first-year language, culture and society major. I am a first-generation college student and daughter of Mexican immigrants. I had been blind to the fact that no one in my classes looked like me or came from the same background. I was heavily involved in my high school’s newspaper — so involved I worked my way up to editor in chief. However, when I looked out at my staff, I saw no one that looked like me. Upon hearing about the diversity and inclusion chair opening at the Daily Nexus, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I want to include more diverse voices and the entirety of our community in Nexus coverage to make our paper an accurate representation of our school.
My name is Maya Pacheco, and I am a second-year political science and philosophy double major. When I heard about the diversity and inclusion position at the Daily Nexus, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get involved through the media and take control of the narratives that have been misconstrued by those who will never be able to accurately depict the sentiment of marginalized voices. By stepping in and taking initiative alongside Pricila, I hope to create lasting change for our respective communities.
Historically, being a predominately white press, the Nexus has failed tremendously in the past and in recent times to depict issues and endeavors within marginalized communities accurately. Some of our rhetoric and coverage from the past has perpetuated extremely negative connotations toward Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) to the extent that some cultural organizations on campus have refused to foster relationships with the Nexus.
Understanding the paper’s past negligence in representing marginalized groups, we recognize the hesitancy and distrust that these groups might feel toward the Nexus. Maya and I want to ensure that moving forward, the Daily Nexus makes significant steps toward regaining the trust to facilitate proper representation within UCSB’s media.
As D&I chairs, we are also working on creating safe spaces for BIPOC staff within the Nexus, understanding the importance of being comfortable and having an outlet when working in predominantly white spaces. By demanding representation through coverage, generating ideas on how each section can work to be more inclusive and by doing outreach to cultural organizations, we hope to foster new and better relationships between the Daily Nexus and BIPOC communities.
To ensure that these communities are being represented, we have implemented content trackers to monitor story pitches and closely follow each section’s content. These content trackers will show us which sections still need guidance in their diversification.
Alongside providing insight to editors over these months, we will be holding mandatory workshops with all of the editorial staff to facilitate a space for personal growth both as editors of a publication and also as people in modern-day society.
Pricila and I do not speak for every BIPOC student here on campus. Our job is not to shield or protect the Daily Nexus by acting in a glorified human resources position. Our job is to hold the Daily Nexus accountable for the content it produces. It will take more than two people to put in place equitable measures for marginalized communities on campus. However, we promise to put in the time, effort and dedication to make the first steps in holding the media accountable at UCSB in the hopes of creating a lasting impact and legacy of conscious and accurate representation for historically underrepresented communities.
Since its genesis, the media has worked to control narratives and the masses and has consequently infiltrated our inner monologues with its shaping rhetoric. CNN and Fox News serve as prime prevalent media examples that work to undermine each other’s narratives at the expense of real people and real issues. They prove that it is easy to perpetuate tailored narratives for their respective audiences who are inevitably indoctrinated into these epistemic bubbles that control their thought process, political affiliations and biases.
Understanding the depths of the media’s power and influence, it is imperative to recognize where representation lies within it. That being said, we will not allow BIPOC traumas to be the only way we are represented in the media. Instead, we plan to provide BIPOC the spaces and platforms to actively use their voices themselves, highlighting their own triumphs and endeavors. With accurate representation, we hope that marginalized communities here at UCSB can finally feel like their identities, experiences and voices are recognized by the general public of Isla Vista and beyond.
Since this is the first year that these positions exist, this is a learning experience and process for both of us, so we appreciate any input we can get. The most valuable feedback would be from our fellow peers and the community outside the Daily Nexus. We hope we can be people the community feels comfortable turning to, and our inbox is always open.
Reach us at email@example.com.