Toolbox Newsletter XXVII

June 1, 2021

How to Find Diverse Expert Sources

Teaching journalism students to find reliable expert sources has always been a challenge. But we must also teach them to find diverse expert sources for their stories, and not just on topics such as race and gender. For everything.

The same is true for young journalists in newsrooms. As a reporter starting in the 1980s (yes, I’m THAT old), it took me a while to “build my Rolodex” of contacts. We didn’t have the internet at our fingertips back then, but we do now.

To start, I usually recommend reporters contact local universities, non-profits and advocacy organizations. They have many diverse experts or can help you find a good source. These experts are good for local stories as they can apply their expertise to the community. It can be as simple as scanning an organization’s staff bios or reaching out directly.

But many times you need a national or international source to speak on a broader topic. You can ask around your newsroom (veteran reporters can be helpful for that) or crowdsource, but I have posted several expert databases on the Toolbox that can be helpful:
Database of experts features underrepresented voices and perspectives in science, health and environment work.

COVID-19 Diverse Sources by Category
This NPR database is divided into 13 major categories. Each column is a separate category.

A free online directory of verified expert sources from top trending industries. Use Vetted’s search tool to locate diverse sources by industry, demographic, title, and more, then send direct interview requests without getting pitched. Journalist contact information is never shared with sources.

Expertise Finder
Look up experts in various fields with this network.

Twitter List: Black Health Experts on COVID-19

50 Experts to Trust in a Pandemic

ONA Info Inequality Database
A database of resources for journalists to engage underrepresented communities and ensure info equity.

Editors of Color: Database of Diverse Databases

Around the Web …

Some useful tools I’ve discovered through search, friends and readers …

Percentage Calculator
Using a simple and clean interface, this site lets you calculate percentages three ways: – What is x% of a number? – x is what % of y? – What is the % change between x and y?

In Quotes …

“Truth is proper and beautiful at all times and in all places.”

--Frederick Douglass


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