The Michigan Daily’s second annual demographics survey found the editorial staff remains largely white, cisgender, female and upper-class.
The survey, conducted in October 2021 by The Daily’s Culture, Training and Inclusion section, received 264 responses — approximately 75% of the 354 total staffers who were on payroll for that month.
The Daily’s racial breakdown shows two-thirds of staffers identify as white, in line with the racial breakdown of campus as a whole.
For communities of color, levels of representation are disparate between communities.
Asian-identifying students are overrepresented on staff, with 25% of staffers identifying as Asian and Pacific Islander Americans compared to 15% of students on U-M’s campus.
Approximately 8% of staffers identify as Black or Hispanic/Latinx, both slightly below campus representation levels for each racial group. Middle Eastern and North African-identifying people make up 6.3% of staff, though there is no data on this group to compare campus-wide. Bi-racial or multi-racial respondents make up just under 12.6% of staff.
Nineteen different ethnicities are present among staffers. The most prominent among them were European (52.9%), Jewish (19.7%), East Asian (16.8%) and South Asian (14.7%).
For the first time, the demographics survey asked about mental and physical disabilities. One out of every 10 respondents reported having some type of disability.
As part of an ongoing conversation about wellness and burnout at The Daily, staffers were also asked for the first time about how much stress in their life is caused by their work. Nearly half of respondents said they would rate their Daily-related stress level a 2 out of 5 (with 5 being the highest level of stress). Five percent rated their stress a 5, 7% rated it a 4, 29% rated it a 3 and 16% rated it a 1.
A large majority of The Daily’s staffers are between the ages of 18 and 21, with the youngest staff member being 17 and the oldest being 26. The vast majority are also undergraduate students and four-fifths of students are in LSA, making the school overrepresented on staff.
The majority of staffers are in their first, second or third semesters on staff — meaning most of the editorial staff has been on The Daily for less than two years.
Approximately half of staffers are from the state of Michigan. New York, California, Illinois and New Jersey were home to the most out-of-state students.
Two out of every three staffers identify as a woman. Just under 30% of those surveyed identified as a man. Only 1.5% identified as nonbinary.
This marks a difference from industry-wide trends of men being overrepresented in newsrooms. Women made up 41.2% of daily newspaper employees in 2018, according to a survey from the News Leaders Association.
Just over one-third of staffers identified as LGBTQ+. This is higher than the ratio in U-M’s student body in Ann Arbor, where 17% of students identify as LGBTQ+.
However, some communities under this umbrella are less represented than others at The Daily. For example, no students surveyed identified as transgender.
The vast majority of staffers identified as non-transfer students and taking a full-time course load, defined as taking 12 or more academic credits. Under 7% of respondents identified as first-generation college students — meaning first-generation students are less represented in the newsroom than in the undergraduate population as a whole, where they make up 14%.
As a whole, The Daily’s staff can speak 24 languages. Nine out of every 10 staff members speak English as their primary language at home.
Half of respondents said they work part-time jobs excluding work for The Daily. Of the 221 respondents who work, 15% said they participated in a work-study program.
Of respondents who reported family income, one out of every four had an income of under $100,000. Another one out of every four students had a family income between $100,000 and $199,999. And half of all respondents reported a family income higher than $200,000.
The average family income of students at the University of Michigan in 2017 was $154,000, according to an analysis from The New York Times. The same analysis found that approximately 66% of students came from families in the top 20% of incomes in the country.
Alex Harring and Mae Veidlinger of The Daily’s Culture, Training & Inclusion team ran this survey and created this report. Data journalists Eric Lau, Zach Breger and Vishal Chandra created the data visualizations.