Holy Cross Creates Database of Diverse Sources for Media

Diverse voices key to better understanding, more nuanced stories
March 11th, 2019 by 

Headshots of diverse faculty members available for comment on media stories.

 

When they need an expert economist, scientist, policy analyst or academic to explain a complex issue to the general public, NPR journalists overwhelmingly turn to white men, according to a recent internal NPR study examining the diversity of its outside sources.

This is an industry-wide issue, and journalists from outlets like The New York Times and The Atlantic, among others, have acknowledged it in their own work. Some pioneering outlets like NPR, Bloomberg and the Columbia Journalism Review are taking steps to fix the imbalance, from creating source banks to providing media training for underrepresented sources. These new sourcing initiatives are meant to give reporters a baseline understanding of diversity of their sources, and ultimately help them write better stories.

“Journalism is all about the people we are trying to serve,” Kathleen Culver, assistant professor and director for journalism ethics at the University of Wisconsin, recently told The Poynter Institute. “Our reporting ought to be representative of those people… The journalism is better because more voices are heard.”

But finding new sources can be challenging, particularly for increasingly time-starved reporters when it’s so easy to fall back on the usual sources on deadline.

The College of the Holy Cross supports the promotion of diverse voices in the media. To aid in that process, we are launching a database of our faculty members who are women and people of color, representing a wide variety of subject matters, and who are available  for interviews by journalists. The list includes names, titles and areas of expertise, as well as headshot and a link to their faculty profile for more information.

The “Diverse Sources for Media” database follows the introduction of the overall “Faculty Experts for the Media” database launched earlier this year. Contact the Holy Cross Media Relations team if you need assistance getting in touch with any of our faculty members to request a comment or set up an interview.

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