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Scripps College PRSSA hosts diversity panel discussion

The Scripps College of Communication’s Public Relations Students Society of America (PRSSA) held a diversity panel as a part of the organization’s Feb. 6 meeting to discuss more ethical, diverse and equal representation in the media.  

The panel included speakers from intersectional organizations such as delfin bautista, director of the LGBT Center at Ohio University; Ibrahim Alnamlah, representative for the Muslim Students Association; Lauren Cartwright, PR chair for the Black Student Communication Caucus; Kris Perez, president of the Scripps Hispanic Network; and Jody Ganschinietz, representative of the Association for Women in Communications.

Erica Stonehill, a senior and executive vice president of Ohio University’s PRSSA chapter, said her position took on a new role this past year as also being in charge of diversity and inclusion. She explained how the idea of hosting a diversity panel came to mind.

“With the current political climate, I thought it was really important for a really big group on campus of professional communicators to talk about how we can go out into the real world and start having more ethical, diverse and equal representation in the media,” Stonehill said.

The panel started off asking about why people should care about ethical and diverse representation in media.

“I think diversity is definitely something to be celebrated because it makes us who we are,” Ganschinietz said.

Perez said people should care because seeing diverse representation allows people to see stories and issues from a different perspective.

Alnamlah acknowledged that most of the information we obtain about the world comes from media such as certain positions and ideas.

“How different minorities are represented in the media can affect how those people are treated in society,” bautista said.

The meeting continued with discussions around how campus media was representing diverse groups and PRSSA members asked how as future media professionals they can help tackle equal representation for these diverse groups.

“Start a conversation,” Perez said. “The only way it’s going to change is if people speak up.”

Cartwright suggested starting dialogues with people, but not with people who think exactly like you.

“Even if it’s uncomfortable, that’s where change begins,” she said.

Kate Ansel, a strategic communications major, said the panel was really beneficial for her as she works with The New Political, a student-run online political publication, and is going to take some of the things that were discussed back to the staff.

*delfin bautista prefers the lowercase form of their name and gender neutral pronouns.