In 2023, 13 news organizations were part of a cohort assembled by the American Press Institute to track the diversity of people quoted in their stories through Source Matters, API’s award-winning source diversity tracking and analysis tool. Conecta Arizona was one of those newsrooms and is sharing these insights about what they found when they examined their data. They published an alternate version in Spanish on their website in Spanish.

Conecta Arizona believes in the power of storytelling, recognizing that it’s not just about the story but who tells it. Our dedication to Spanish-language journalism serves as a bridge, connecting diverse voices and experiences. Through transparency and ongoing commitment to improvement, we strive to maintain the trust of our audience and contribute to a more inclusive and representative media landscape.

By sharing our experiences and learnings, we hope to inspire and catalyze broader industry changes that elevate the voices of the Hispanic community, fostering a media environment that truly resonates with its diverse audience.

To meet the evolving needs of our community, newsrooms must be transparent about their editorial decisions, ensuring that diverse voices are not only included but also given equal prominence. Transparency is not just a commitment to our audience but a step towards dismantling systemic biases that have perpetuated underrepresentation in the media. By sharing our source audit findings, Conecta Arizona aims to encourage other media outlets to embrace transparency as a tool for positive change.

The primary objective of using Source Matters was to enhance accountability and transparency within Conecta Arizona’s media practices, align them with the diverse and cross-border community that relies on our coverage. This source tracking effort aimed to evaluate the representation of voices in our reporting and address challenges faced by Spanish speakers accessing transparent and inclusive news media.

Here is what we found:

Key Findings

Demographic Representation:

  • 97% of our sources are of Latino or Hispanic origin, underscoring our commitment to reflecting the community we serve.
  • Women make up 64% of our sources, highlighting a deliberate effort to amplify diverse voices within our coverage.

Diversification of Expertise:

  • Increased inclusion of health and education experts in our coverage, alongside providing a platform for entrepreneurs and artists previously underrepresented in local media.

Language and Cultural Inclusivity:

  • All our content is produced in Spanish, emphasizing our dedication to fostering a connection with our audience through language.
  • Only 2% of interviews are conducted in languages other than Spanish, such as English.

Official vs. Community Sources:

Contrary to conventional media trends, only 43% of our sources are considered “official,” with a significant reliance on community voices, experts, activists and artists.

Geographic Reach:

Demonstrating a commitment to localism, 65% of interviewees are from or reside in Phoenix, with additional representation from various regions in Arizona, Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Diverse Team Composition:

Our organization mirrors the rich cultural diversity of our audience, comprising individuals from Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina, alongside contributions from journalists of various nationalities.

Reflection and Accountability:

Conecta Arizona recognizes the importance of transparency and accountability in the news media industry. We share these findings to reaffirm our commitment to providing an authentic representation of our community. By acknowledging the diversity of voices and experiences, we aim to bridge gaps and create a platform that resonates with our audience.

Challenges and Next Steps

While our audit demonstrates progress, we acknowledge the need for continued efforts to make information accessible in Spanish and enhance technological capabilities to cater to a broader audience in different languages. The challenges faced by Hispanic communities in mainstream media underscore the importance of initiatives like ours in reshaping the narrative.

Conecta Arizona recognizes the transformative power of having representation that not only reflects the linguistic diversity of our audience but also embodies the varied backgrounds and experiences within the Hispanic community. By providing a platform for voices with distinct accents, cultural nuances and diverse perspectives, we aim to empower individuals who have historically been marginalized or overlooked in mainstream media.

The urgency to establish more Spanish-language newsrooms or those dedicated to serving Hispanic communities cannot be overstated. We do not only need more hyper local journalism projects like ours, but we need more transparency and clarity with the existing media organizations.  As evidenced by our source audit, a substantial portion of the population relies on media in Spanish to stay informed. It is imperative for news outlets to acknowledge and respond to this demand by not only producing content in Spanish but also by fostering transparency in their editorial processes. And having a dedicated person that understands our culture and speaks our language (Marita) is crucial to ensure the success of our participation. We needed that since the onboarding process because we were a little lost. 

By Maritza L. Félix
Director and founder, Conecta Arizona

You might also be interested in: