Source Diversity

WABE seeks to be equitable and inclusive in how we cover the news to hold ourselves accountable in representing the diversity of Metro Atlanta. To that end, we track our sources as we produce news stories, programs, or other content that provide an opportunity to hear from the people of metro Atlanta. The goal of the tracker is two-fold:

  • Understand who we are talking to when we seek out sources for the stories we tell.
  • Determine if the representation of people we speak to aligns with the demographic composition of the Atlanta metro area.

We then use these findings to adjust who we pursue as sources in order to make a better match to those who live and work in this area. The data is compiled quarterly to be shared with our staff and the public. Here is our report for the 4th quarter of 2021.

Q4 2021 Report

The voices heard on WABE’s locally produced programs and segments during the fourth quarter of 2021 align somewhat with metro Atlanta’s diverse demographics, but there is still room for improvement (comparison data comes from US Census data, currently from 2019. We will update the benchmarks with 2020 census data when available):

  • 52.9% of WABE’s sources were White, compared to 46% of the metro population.
  • African-Americans make up 34% of metro Atlanta’s residents, In the fourth quarter, 37.5% of WABE sources were Black.
  • The representation of Asian sources fell from a high of 6.1% in the third quarter down to 3%, which is half of the metro region’s 6% composition.
  • WABE still lags significantly in the representation of Latinx sources. 11% of the community identifies as Latinx, but only 2.7% of our sources were.
  • This is down almost a full percentage point from the previous quarter and is an area where we must apply more focus.
  • WABE featured slightly more men than women in its local programming:
    • 48.1% of WABE sources were women compared to 52% of the population, while 50.7% of the people we talked to identified as men.

We also track what roles people play when they are speaking to us. Are they speaking as experts on a certain topic, elected or non-elected officials, as artists and creators, or maybe simply members of the public?

Role of source:
Expert (those speaking from relevant experience) —————- 18.7%
Artist/creator ——————————————————- 34.7%
Member of the public ———————————————- 12.2%
Non-elected official (appointed officials and spokespeople) – 15.5%
Elected official —————————————————– 11.1%
Other (includes non-WABE reporters and journalists) ————- 7.0%

There are no benchmarks for these measurements, and they vary greatly based on what kind of news is happening, for example elections in a quarter will drive up the number of elected officials. But the data help us to know if we are getting a desired mix of voices on our air. For example, we’d like to see the percentage of the public closer to that of the sum of elected and non-elected officials so that we hear more from people who live and work in our region. We will continue to work on that.

You might be interested to know that over the reporting period, we totaled 340 tracked sources appearing in our various news stories and features on Morning Edition and All Things Considered and local programs and podcasts such as Closer Look, City Lights, and Political Breakfast. That number does not yet represent all the people we talked to, but we are striving to reach 100% compliance on our tracking as we continue to use the system.

What do we do with this data? In addition to sharing it with you, we dive into it as a team, using the findings to guide our reporting. WABE is committed to engaging communities that are under-represented in our coverage and this tool helps us examine how the people of WABE reach, understand, and cover the people of Atlanta.

We’ll update the tracker every quarter, sharing our progress with you. Please check back to see how we are doing and if you like, share your comments with us at