As The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. continues its 139th year of publication, its board of student editors and managers has reflected on the first half of the year while making plans for the rest of the semester, focusing on reaching audiences with innovative content formats and strengthening internal newsroom culture.
The board consists of student leaders who oversee the editorial and business operations for the company's three publications: The Daily Pennsylvanian, 34th Street Magazine, and Under the Button. Tenure on the board begins in January and concludes in December each year.
Wharton senior Jesse Zhang serves as the president of the 139th board, and he said his goal for the year is to re-engage with the wider Penn community while simultaneously offering students the opportunity to try new things. Zhang works alongside the company's three professional staff members — along with the company’s diversity and inclusion director, executive editor, and business manager.
"I strive to create a culture of collaboration and communication within the company so we can best serve those in the communities around us — at Penn and beyond — through our work in both journalism and business," Zhang said.
College junior Matteo Busterna serves as the company’s second-ever diversity and inclusion director, a position that was created last year. In this role, he has expanded the scope of the DP Fellows Program and has strived to make the DP’s processes more transparent.
“I want to continue to uplift and structure the fellows and the program as a whole,” Busterna said. “I plan to work with editors, managers, and the diversity committee to reinforce our diversity initiatives through speakers, workshops, and training events.”
On Friday, Sept. 8, the DP will be hosting its first open house exclusively for students of marginalized backgrounds, according to Busterna. He said the event’s goal is to educate students about Penn’s history and lower the barrier to entry for students that have historically been turned away from the DP.
Executive editor and College senior Emi Tran will be assisted by the DP Inc.’s three editors-in-chief: DP EIC and College senior Imran Siddiqui, 34th Street EIC and College senior Walden Green, and UTB EIC and College senior Liwa Sun.
Tran’s job is to oversee all editorial functions of the DP’s three publications. With this being her last semester, she said that her goal is to give as much back as possible to the newspaper that “single-handedly changed the trajectory of [her] life.”
“In addition to continuing to support the editorial staff who make this amazing publication what it is, I also aim to set up internal infrastructure and programs that will benefit generations of DPers to come,” Tran said.
Reflecting on his time with the newspaper, Siddiqui said that he hopes the DP can continue to be a fair and accurate source of information on campus for years to come. He said his biggest goals are to innovate how content is presented to the Penn community — through new digital and social media strategies — and rebuild trust in the DP’s product across campus.
“One of my big goals for the DP this year is to build trust internally and externally. This has to be a very intentional process of rebuilding aspects of newsroom culture internally while being transparent about our procedures and being open to feedback from people outside of the company,” Siddiqui said. “Our newspaper and our work should accurately and equitably reflect our campus and the surrounding community.”
Green said that the focus for his year at the helm of 34th Street, the DP’s arts and culture magazine, has been community. He said that he wants to bring back “a sense of post-pandemic passion and investment for our staff.”
“We're here to tell the stories our readers want to hear and that our writers need to get off their chests, all while fine-tuning our print magazine, website, and newsletter to make them as engaging and sustainable as they can be,” Green said.
College senior and business manager Josh Trenchard oversees all six of the DP’s business departments: finance, consulting, marketing, analytics, engineering, and product lab. He said his goals are to continue pushing the company forward by establishing “a strong third leg of revenue” to support the publications for years to come.
“I am very grateful to have passionate and motivated managers leading each individual department, and I know that we will all work together to ensure that the DP is running smoothly and can be the best it can be,” Trenchard said.
Heading into their second — and for many their last — semester leading this company, all of the editors and managers expressed how thankful they were for the opportunity to work with students across Penn.
"The DP is a truly unique organization that affords students the independence and support to make a big impact felt across campus," Tran said. "We start conversations, inform social movements, and train the next generation of leaders in the media world."
Students across the University are encouraged to join the DP, regardless of their experience in journalism. Fill out the interest form and attend the company’s informational sessions on Sept. 5 or Sept. 6 and open house on Sept. 7.