Source Diversity

As we continue our efforts to be more equitable, inclusive, and to hold ourselves accountable in representing the diversity of Metro Atlanta, WABE has updated its tracked sources for the third quarter of 2021. We note who we talk to as we produce news stories, programs, or other content affording an opportunity to hear from the people of metro Atlanta and compile the data quarterly. 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. We share this info with the public each quarter, so let’s see what has changed from our last report.

Q3 2021 Report

The voices heard on WABE’s locally produced programs and segments during the third quarter of 2021 align with metro Atlanta’s diverse demographics better than our previous reports in some areas, but there is still room for improvement:

  • 6% of WABE’s sources were White, compared to 46% of the metro population according to the most recent census data available.
  • African-Americans make up 34% of metro Atlanta’s residents, In the third quarter, 33.4% of WABE sources were Black, meaning we tracked the metro population almost exactly.
  • The representation of Asian sources grew significantly in the third quarter, reaching 1%, which matches the metro regions 6% composition. This is up from just 4.9% in Q2.
  • WABE still lags in the representation of Latinx sources. 11% of the community identifies as Latinx, but only 3.6% of our sources were. This is down almost a full percentage point from the previous quarter.
  • WABE featured slightly more women and men in its local programming:
    • 48.2% of WABE sources were women compared to 52% of the population, while 51.6% of the people we talked to identified as men.

Sources by Race 3Q21

Sources by Gender 3Q21

 

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)                           32.7%
Artist/creator                                                                                             23.7%
Member of the public                                                                              15.4%
Non-elected official (appointed officials and spokespeople)           15.2%
Elected official                                                                                           7.8%
Other                                                                                                            2.2%

Role of Source

There are no benchmarks for these measurements, but it helps 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 437 tracked sources appearing in our various news stories on Morning Edition and All Things Considered and local programs and podcasts such as Closer Look, City Lights, and Did You Wash Your Hands? That 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 feedback@wabe.org.