Editorial: Diversity and The Clerk

Since The Clerk’s inception in 2011 as an independent, student-run and Haverford-focused online newspaper, we have sought to be an inclusive, accessible, and important platform for students, faculty, and community members to voice their thoughts and opinions.

We have come up short in this goal. Moreover, we have inadvertently contributed to the erasure of the systematically silenced voices that we sought to amplify. An overwhelming majority of commentary pieces that we’ve published have been written by white males, almost all of whom also identify as straight and cisgender. We cannot in good conscience claim to have fully represented a spectrum of perspectives given that, of the 43 commentary pieces released in the last two years, only eight were written by women, and only six by students of color. Though our news coverage has a much better balance of writers, it still does not address the variety of topics we have a responsibility to cover.

This reflects both our failure to make The Clerk as inclusive as it should be and more systemic problems of who feels comfortable speaking publicly on difficult issues. There has been improvement in the last year, but we are still not where we should be in terms of accurately representing the Haverford community.

We cannot hear only these white, male voices. To see only one perspective does a disservice to the depths of the issues we seek to cover and erases the diverse nature of the Haverford community. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche says in her 2009 TED talk, there is danger in only portraying a single story.  Having only one representation goes against both journalistic ethics and our goals as a newspaper, particularly when that single story comes from a voice that already dominates the conversation.

In order to better serve the Haverford community, and to honestly reflect the diversity of perspectives that exist here, we need your help. If you personally have felt silenced, or if you feel that The Clerk is an organization that perpetuates systemic erasure of marginalized groups, or if you would like to help us learn and change, we welcome your voice and your input. We are asking for your trust in us— as editors, writers, and students.

With that in mind, we have created a new submissions page with step-by-step guidelines on how you can contribute an article. We also welcome story ideas or criticism of past articles and our role as an institution. You can contact us here or email our Editor-in-Chief Hannah Cregan Zigler at hzigler@haverford.edu.

Thank you,

The Editorial Board

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2 Responses

  1. Old-Timer says:

    Perhaps some public self-flagellation wouldn’t be a bad idea. You could stroll across campus proclaiming, “Unclean!”

  2. Thy Vo says:

    This is a nice gesture. Sometimes it takes a lot of legwork with approaching individual groups on campus and suggesting editorial topics when they are salient; keep an eye out for events on campus and approach club leaders to write a piece. If you are struggling to get people to write (some people don’t like to or are intimidated by the task), you could also try incorporating more voices through Q&As. Some people need a guide to help them articulate their ideas.

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