For the past three years, I’ve been working with news organizations across the country that want to improve the diversity of sources quoted in their local stories, largely through the American Press Institute’s source diversity tracking and analysis tool, Source Matters. This effort is often part of a larger newsroom initiative to strengthen community ties by building and repairing relationships across coverage areas to help better understand, connect with and fully represent the people they aim to serve.

As a former beat reporter, I know sourcing is not possible without trusted relationships. It can take reporters years to develop the sources necessary to comprehensively cover their beats, whether it be a focused topic of expertise or a place-based community. And it can take even longer if your news organization has harmed or has historically underrepresented or underserved people in your community. But the benefits of source tracking apply across media types, across types of audiences and for both legacy and newer media. As news organizations work to grow and nurture relationships in their communities, many are focusing on ways to not only track their outreach but also build in the accountability necessary to improve.

For some news organizations, source tracking is just one way they can center care for their communities by examining whose stories are told and whose perspectives dominate their journalism:

“A large part of my job is to directly engage underserved communities,” said Sherkiya Wedgeworth-Hollowell, managing editor of accountability and outreach at Colorado Public Radio. “Source Matters allows me to do my job. It’s not just a tool for the newsroom to write a story. It’s how I shape my newsroom and shape the importance of how to include stories that better represent the people that we serve.”

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