Diversity in news staff and among sources : history, today’s numbers and a case study of source tracking at KUT in Austin

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2022-12-21

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Scarpelli, Leah Michelle

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Abstract

As the only profession protected by the U.S. Constitution, journalism has been subject to much scrutiny about whether it is truly representative of the people it claims to inform. Three moments of crisis within the last century have highlighted a call for change within the industry, and attending to matters of insuring that diverse voices populate the news media is one important mechanism. In terms of diversity, current staffing distributions at many important media sites fall short of adequately representing the U.S. population. The theories of gatekeeping, framing and the hierarchy of needs help inform the function of journalism within a society and how changes might take root in the profession. This research examines recent efforts to bring more diversity into news coverage in the form of source tracking and discusses practices at various news outlets, taking a closer look at source tracking at National Public Radio headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at its Austin affiliate station, KUT.

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