Eden Villalovas – Diversifying the Newsroom

Eden Villalovas – Diversifying the Newsroom

Realizing a disproportionate representation of diverse voices in student journalism, Eden Villalovas felt compelled to pursue it as her major.

As the journalism field grows, many young reporters are faced with the challenges of adapting to the ever-changing standards of the modern day newsroom. One thing that has not changed, however, is an increase in diversity and representation within America’s mainstream news networks. Twenty-one year old Eden Villalovas, a Senior at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), is pursuing journalism to make a difference.

Casey Feldman Foundation Supports Journalism Students

Dianne Anderson and Joel Feldman, founders of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation began awarding journalism students who hold unpaid internships with a scholarship stipend in an effort to support young journalists entering such a vital career field.  Eden received the Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship Stipend following her impressive experience as a managing editor for CU Boulder’s The Bold, a student-run news site, as well as for her Fall 2021 internship as an editorial writer at Denver’s Life Magazine.

Originally from San Diego, Eden came to CU Boulder in pursuit of new learning opportunities and experiences she otherwise would not have at home. When she first came to CU, she quickly realized that there was a lack of representation on campus. According to the 2020-2021 Regent Diversity Report for CU Boulder’s student demographics, 32% of undergraduate students are of color. Eden felt as though she could use journalism as a platform to speak up for students of color on campus, and add more representation in student news.

“I came to CU and it was the first time in my life that I felt like a minority. Coming from San Diego, I was constantly surrounded by diversity and different cultures,” Eden said.

Lack of Diversity Among Student Journalists

When Eden first came to CU Boulder, however, she said she wasn’t sure if she was going to stick with journalism. It wasn’t until she realized there was a disproportionate representation of diverse voices in student journalism, that Eden felt like she had to pursue it as her major.

“Coming to Colorado, and to CU in particular, I realized I’m a minority and people view me as a minority, and I thought that there was such a lack of minority journalists,” Eden recalled,

“I was in a position of privilege where I could speak for underrepresented communities.”

From there, Eden’s journalism experience blossomed into so much more than she could have imagined. Starting her sophomore year, Eden was one of the founding writers for The Bold, and continues to write articles focused on politics, social equity, and breaking news.

“It felt so good to be around such like-minded people and people who cared about the same issues that I did, especially student journalism in particular,” Eden said.

This past year, Eden was named a managing editor for the student publication, and said that this role strengthened her leadership skills and provided her with experience to grow as a young professional journalist in more ways than she could get simply from reporting classes.

This fall semester, Eden is also interning at Denver Life Magazine, a publication that features stories on the arts, travel, style, food, and lifestyle. Eden is an editorial intern, writing her own pieces as well as fact-checking and editing freelance stories for grammar and content.

Throughout her experience as a journalism student, writing for The Bold, and as an editorial intern, Eden realized how important it is to support young journalists, especially those who add more diversity in the field.

Journalism at a Turning Point

“I think journalism right now is at a really big turning point, where the average citizen distrusts the media so much. Journalism has [also]  failed underrepresented groups, and that’s why there is such a distrust in the media because there is also such a lack of diverse voices in journalism,” Eden said, “ I really want to bring back that trust and I think that starts with diversifying the newsroom.”

When Eden isn’t writing for CU’s The Bold or at her internship in Denver, she enjoys writing, reading, and stays active with a routine running schedule. Her interest in politics and social change also led to a desire to one be a reporter for the White House after she interned for a non-profit organization in Washington D.C. over the Summer.

“I think working in Washington D.C. has always been a goal of mine, and that didn’t really happen until this past year when I had an internship in D.C. It just made me realize how important journalism is in D.C. in particular,” Eden said.

Thanks to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation scholarship stipend, Eden said that she found more of a purpose in pursuing journalism, and that it is extremely rewarding to feel like young journalists are being recognized and supported.

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation to provide additional journalism students with funding for an unpaid internship.

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Savannah Mather graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in December, 2021. She was the first recipient of the Casey Feldman Foundation CU Journalism Scholarship Stipend. Savannah is pursuing a career in multimedia & digital content creation, and hopes to someday write for an environmental nonprofit group.