RJ source audit analyzes who’s being quoted in local news stories

In an effort to ensure our coverage is representative of the communities we serve, the Record-Journal has joined a group of publishers across the country, selected by the American Press Institute, to study the diversity of sources quoted in its news stories.

Known as a source audit, the practice can help newsrooms identify gaps in their coverage, set goals for improvement and measure progress over time. 

Record-Journal journalists are using API’s Source Matters tool, which helps analyze not only who is being quoted in stories, but how they were selected and the role they play in relation to the news being reported.

Reporters conduct surveys of their sources to gather demographic information, which is added to Source Matters and analyzed over time. Specifically, the Record-Journal opted to track gender, race/ethnicity, age and the ability status of sources.

The survey is voluntary and has no impact on the story being reported or whether a source is quoted. Data is collected to inform our reporting and is not shared or sold to other parties. 

“This is an effort to better serve our communities and hold ourselves accountable by understanding and addressing potential gaps in our coverage,” said Record-Journal Executive Editor Eric Cotton. “The premise of Source Matters is that the sources we quote affect whose stories get told and that journalism should reflect a diversity of voices.”

Participation in Source Matters follows the Record-Journal’s creation of the Latino Communities Reporting Lab, an ongoing initiative to strengthen coverage of local Latino communities and to amplify Latino voices. It also follows the creation of a dedicated health equity beat, with a focus on disparate health care access and outcomes among underserved residents.

For more information about Source Matters, go to https://sourcematters.com/. For more information about the American Press Institute, go to www.americanpressinstitute.org.

To support health equity reporting or the Latino Communities Reporting Lab through a donation, go to https://bit.ly/3Pdb0re.


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