Before her newsroom adopted Source Matters Breaking News Reporter Raquel Torres said it was easy to jump to the first available interview at a scene, but after a year of using the source diversity tracking tool, she says she is paying even more attention to who is underrepresented in her coverage and not always going to the first person she encounters.

Torres is an early career journalist at the San Antonio Report. In February, she received a tip about a community center that had shut down without warning. The residents wanted to know why. It was located in a predominantly Latinx neighborhood on the south side of San Antonio, about 30 minutes from downtown and even farther away from where she lived. She noticed the tip came into a shared email account that many staffers in the organization have access to. Torres said she could have ignored it or passed it along to another reporter that day but she wanted to pursue the story because closing a community center might mean residents wouldn’t have access to childcare or senior programs. She pitched it to her editor who approved the assignment and then she hopped in her car. 

The Villa Coronado Neighborhood Association, which Torres said is not often in the news, wasn’t the only one having trouble getting information about what happened to the community center. Torres had to file an open records request with the city to learn the building was physically falling apart and why the residents weren’t informed of the safety concerns. After her story was published, Torres said the neighborhood association president called to thank her because she would never have known why the community center closed if not for her reporting.

“It’s something I want to keep my eye on because it’s a small South Side neighborhood,” Torres said. “This came in as a tip, that is true, but it also should be wired in you as a reporter to want to talk to neighborhoods that you don’t usually see in the newspaper or on TV. You shouldn’t be scared to cover a neighborhood because it’s far away. I think that’s what I learned from this.”

Torres’ newsroom doesn’t track sources on every story. Instead they conduct the source tracking periodically to see how sourcing changes over time and to rally the newsroom around collective goals. 

Editor-in-Chief Leigh Munsil said the Report’s source tracking and community listening efforts have informed their strategies on how to better serve San Antonio, particularly with well-reported community news on the south, east and west sides of the city where the Report has historically had lower readership. 

When Torres joined the Report she said she was surprised that while the majority of the city identifies as Latinx, the audiences who consumed their content were not. Source Matters is helping her newsroom expand their coverage to the voices and communities that might be underrepresented, she said.

The work she began on the South Side is now expanding to the larger newsroom. Munsil said for the next several weeks, the Report is starting a community sprint inspired by their involvement in Poynter’s Media Transformation Challenge. During this time, three reporters will work together to cover one to two stories per week focused on South Side neighborhood issues. In addition to the content, the reporters have goals of increasing newsletter signups and talking to two people each week they might not otherwise have gotten to know.

“It takes time to build trust, as well as the audience expectation that we will be present in their area covering hyperlocal news,” Munsil wrote in an email about the project. “This sort of intentional, ground-level work to build trust on the South Side is a great way to measure how well we are serving that community, and we will apply the learnings to all of our neighborhood coverage — eventually expanding this work to other neighborhoods.”

Senior Reporter Nicholas Frank said the newsroom’s focus and editorial support on expanding sources is broadening coverage and better representing the city. He covers arts and culture for the San Antonio Report and brings about 30 years of expertise to his reporting. When he started working for the Report six years ago he noticed that much of the audience focus was on predominantly white, affluent neighborhoods. He wanted to broaden the scope of the arts coverage to more communities across the city, some of which were celebrating events and festivals in more culturally authentic ways. His work to build relationships in the local arts scene was expanding long before his newsroom began using Source Matters last year.

However, having the support of his editor, Blanca Méndez, and focused goals to build, expand and deepen those relationships to better represent the people who live in San Antonio is not only transforming coverage but also building trust.

“There is a cascade effect,” Frank said. “Once you establish trust with a person or neighborhood advocate or community organizer or cultural leader in a community, that person will then refer you to others in their community who are doing work that they feel deserves attention. That source becomes a network of sources.”

For Frank, this began with the west side of San Antonio. He started building relationships with people in the community, which led him to a new source. Keli Rosa Cabunoc Romero is the director of a traditional folk music workshop who was helpful in guiding Frank to resources and people to talk for an obituary he was writing on the workshop’s founder. After his story was published, Frank thanked her and received a text message back that indicated the community would trust him with future reporting.

“She said, ‘Of course. You always cover our comunidad and I feel like this is something that needs to be talked about,’” Frank said, referencing her text. “And she gave me a tip that a convicted child rapist was being given a lifetime achievement award and that turned into several articles that were widely read and resulted in the award being rescinded.”

On the east side, Frank built sources there just by showing up at events. Frank had been covering the San Antonio Black International Film Festival since its inception, but was the only reporter to show up in person at last year’s media day. He covered the film festival but he also discovered a new story about a local nonprofit teaching filmmaking to kids ages 10 to 18.

It might sound like a small impact but one story can turn into two, Frank said. That’s how his network of sources expands. Analyzing that data in Source Matters helps the newsroom learn what they don’t know or can’t see day to day.

“It’s a resource that puts tools in your hands that can help you better reflect the full scope of your beat,” Frank said. “The demands and constraints of journalism don’t automatically encourage us to look beyond the immediate voices we are able to access. It made me examine who I wasn’t seeing, looking at or listening to every day and every story.”

If you have questions about Source Matters or any of the newsroom examples we shared, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at or

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