Student and President, Harvard Crimson
After 148 years of publication, the Harvard Crimson, one of America’s oldest and most prestigious daily college newspapers, elected its first Latina president, Raquel Coronell Uribe, last year. The 23-year-old student, who was born in Colombia to journalist parents, took the reins this January and plans to make digital innovation and diversity priorities during her year-long tenure.
“It’s an honor to be able to be in that role,” Coronell Uribe told CNN. “At the same time, I think it was overdue. I’m sure there have been many qualified Latinx people who could have been president in the past. I’m hoping to open the door so that many others after me can walk through it.”
As of last year, the Crimson’s demographics had reached near parity with those of the university in regard to representation of Black and Hispanic individuals; according to a 2021 staff diversity report, 10.4 percent of staffers identified as Black and 8.9 percent identified as Latinx, while Harvard’s total student body was comprised of 11.3 percent Black students and 8.9 percent of Hispanic origin. But the playing field hasn’t always been so level—a 2017 column called out the Crimson for marginalizing underrepresented voices—so, it’s up to leaders like Coronell Uribe to maintain momentum and keep progress moving forward. Student newspapers are a pipeline into the news media industry, which is currently facing its own workforce diversity crisis. According to a 2021 Reuters Institute analysis, the percentage of non-white top editors in the U.S. is only 18 percent, below half of the percentage of people of color in the general population (40 percent); America’s percentage of non-white journalists sits at an abysmal 9 percent. That’s just one of the many reasons Coronell Uribe’s appointment is so significant—not only is she making a difference on Harvard’s campus, but she’s also setting an example for the entire news industry. And media leaders would be wise to follow.