Greenlee School presents first Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity and Inclusion Award


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Jaden Urbi, senior in journalism and Courtney Crowder, reporter for the Des Moines Register, were recipients of the first Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity and Inclusion Award. The two were recognized for their efforts in reporting on issues pertaining to diversity, including the Black Lives Matter movement and the lives of transgender people in Iowa. 

Alison Boysen

Two journalists received a new Greenlee award and shared their experiences and success during their time spent reporting on minority groups in Iowa.

The Greenlee School of Journalism presented Des Moines Register feature reporter Courtney Crowder and Jaden Urbi, senior in journalism, with the first ever Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity and Inclusion Award. The celebration was part of First Amendment Week at Hamilton Hall on Wednesday.

During the celebration, Crowder discussed her series “Trans In Iowa” and her process of proposing and writing about topics relating to diversity. Crowder mentioned how some transgender Iowans don’t expose their trans identity outside of their home.

“Violence and discrimination is a real fear for this community,” Crowder said.

Through interviews and connections, Crowder helped create a community for trans people in Iowa. Crowder said that there are now transgender groups of athletes and business professionals that can lean on each other for support.

Crowder said that helping create this network of trans people is gratifying.

“Before ‘Trans in Iowa’ there were very few … support groups across Iowa and by asking every single person I met, ‘Who do you know that I can talk to?,’ we sort of spread out and created this larger network that now exists outside of the Register,” Crowder said. “We just sort of facilitated it.”

Crowder also spoke about support of the newsrooms, how to handle trolls online, correct language to use when interviewing and how to interact with subjects of an interview.

“I never let a source cry alone,” Crowder said.

Crowder also explained how she advises covering transgender people in communities.  

“Don’t treat transgender people like the flashy new thing,” Crowder said. “You shouldn’t be writing about someone just because they are transgender.”

Urbi was also awarded for her work covering the Black Lives Movement and other social matters for Iowa State publications like the Iowa State Daily and Ethos magazine.

Urbi discussed how she believes news organizations should cover racial issues by talking to the people from the communities that are affected by discrimination or whatever the case may be.

“I think they need to start talking to real people,” Urbi said.

As a freshman, Urbi began at the Daily as a diversity reporter writing about stories that interested her. Urbi said that it doesn’t matter what other people think about a reporter covering “uncomfortable” topics, as long as they had a passion to write about it. 

“Once you start doing those interviews you’ll realize it is a really important subject, and if it is somewhat taboo, there’s probably a good story behind it,” Urbi said.

Urbi shared her biggest challenge of trying not to label a whole community with one person’s story.

“Even though you’re part of the same minority group obviously everybody’s an individual and everybody has their own story,” Urbi said.