THE NEED FOR MORE DIVERSE SOURCES IN THE NEWS
Recently, a couple of reporters from the San Antonio Report, a nonprofit online news source wrote that “participants told us that local news often overlooks or mischaracterizes certain communities. In our industry’s history, newsrooms have often fallen short of telling the full picture of their communities — but now we have a chance to do better.”
How? Their publication is joining an American Press Institute effort to track the diversity of people who are quoted using Source Matters, the API’s effort to help publications “track and improve the diversity of sources in your news stories.”
According to the API, the goals of these organizations include efforts to:
Build more accountability into their reporting practices to better reflect the communities they want to serve, reach, and engage with.
Expand audiences with diverse communities.
Find new perspectives and voices that reflect their communities.
Replace homegrown source trackers that have not had enough success internally.
Results are beginning to accumulate and based on the account from the San Antonio Report, they demonstrate the value of this enterprise. As the authors of that article, Leigh Munsil and Blanca Mendez reported on November 27th, “After two initial tracking periods, just 27% of our sources identified as Latino in a city where more than 60% of the population is Latino — so we set a newsroom-wide goal to significantly improve that metric.”
With an effort to seek out more Latino sources, “since starting our final tracking period on Aug. 1, we’ve made great progress toward our goal with 41% of our sources identifying as Latino,” according to Munsil and Menez.
With all the talk in the press about the importance of governments encouraging diversity, equity and inclusion, it’s a breath of fresh air to see the publications making the same kind of effort themselves.
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