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The Monarch Times

Disparity at Journalism Conference

Annie Mladinich, Teacher
Mt. Eden Journalism.

Mt. Eden Journalism hit the city of San Francisco on April 20-22 for the annual Journalism Conference hosted by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association in various states. We were lucky enough to be part of this conference since the conference has not been in the Bay Area for over six years. As a club, we were able to meet other student journalists and join workshops to help The Monarch Times grow. Besides the work of journalism in every hallway, we couldn’t help but notice that we were the most diverse group present. How is this possible in San Francisco?

We had students from around the world, yet there were only few from the Bay Area. During the awards ceremony for the best newspaper and yearbook submissions, students fromWashington state all the way to the United Kingdom were present; however, the majority of these students were white. Our group, a few students from Taiwan, and some selected winners of Latino, South Asian, and African descent were the only diversity in this monotonous conference. These affluent schools and students were able to afford the trip. As a Title 1 school, the only reason we were able to attend the conference was due to its close proximity and outside financial support. The income disparity was already known before attending, but the lack of diversity was a shock.

During one of the workshops, sophomore journalist La’Nya Friday felt uncomfortable when the Black Lives Matter Movement was mentioned. “It was very uncomfortable as all heads were turned towards me. It felt as if I was like some animal in a cage that was only there for them to look and point at. As soon as ‘Black Lives Matter’ was brought up, all eyes were glued to me. I found their actions to be extremely insensitive.”

The disparities in economic privilege promote inequity, many of the topics surrounding diversity and equity could be observed within that conference. Schools that are unable to afford these events are being prevented from learning meaningful skills in order to improve their own school journalism programs. However, many of the schools that already have access to resources and networks continue to win recognition and prizes, which also includes profit. The winning schools have larger budgets for printing, websites, even some schools having rooms dedicated to podcasts and news, complete with equipment, while economically underprivileged schools struggle to gather funds for printing. The majority of the schools that attended the conference were from across the country. Despite being so close to San Francisco, this conference was nearly economically inaccessible for Mt. Eden’s Journalism Club, even while receiving a scholarship. This does not only apply to journalism, as it applies to nearly every program and extracurricular on campus.

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About the Contributor
Myldret Vazquez, Business Manager
Hey everyone! My name is Myldret Vazquez-Bejar, I have been writing for The Monarch Times since the 2022-23 school year after my friend informed me that there was a Journalism Club. I am currently the Business and Marketing Manager. Ever since, I’ve grown very close with the TMT team where I find a sense of comfort, belonging and community. I love drawing, going hiking, tea and music.  
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