Our view: Learn diversity for future success

KS Editors

As the demographics of our country are changing at a rapid pace, the word “diversity” is thrown around in conversations in virtually every industry. Do you have a diverse staff? Are you citing diverse sources? Are you reaching a diverse audience? How do you treat co-workers of a different race or ethnicity? In journalism, the “diversity conversation” is constant.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication hosted a panel discussion Wednesday night to focus on the diversity issues in the Communication and Information sectors including journalism, film and advertising. Members of the panel — which included journalism professor Federico Subervi, journalism lecturer Traci Williams and advertising professor Evan Bailey —  described how the changing media industry needs to reflect the changing demographics it serves.

Major changes have already been made in the media we consume that wouldn’t have been even thought of 10 years ago. For example, students agreed that Laverne Cox, who will be speaking at Kent State on Nov. 5, would have never appeared on screen as an African-American transgender actress, or a Super Bowl ad would have never featured a gay couple, even just a few years ago. But one question remains: As a student, do you feel you are ready to accept a job that requires a knowledge of diverse populations?

Only three out of the nearly 60 students at the panel discussion said yes. Some college students today never grew up with exposure to culturally and ethnically diverse populations. In order to better understand how the demographics of our world have changed, we need to educate ourselves. Take a class about a culture you know nothing about. Talk to someone who doesn’t look or think like you. Attend an event hosted by an ethnic group on campus.

A college campus is the perfect place to build your knowledge about the cultures that will surround you in the workplace — and life — one day. Take advantage of this learning opportunity to maximize your own success in the future.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the The Kent Stater editorial board, whose names are listed above.