3 Easy Ways to Find Diverse Sources for Your Stories (or Press Releases)

By Monica May


Many of us want to include more people who are underrepresented in science in our stories, but may not know where to begin. 

To help this process become easier—and hopefully at some point second nature—SANDSWA’s Social Justice in Science Writing club recently read the Open Notebook piece “Finding Diverse Sources for Science Stories” and brainstormed ways to incorporate these ideas into our daily work. 

Three takeaways from the reading and our discussion follow:  

  1. Bookmark diversity databases, such as Diverse Sources, 500 Women Scientists or 500 Queer Scientists, so you have them at the ready when working under deadline. PIOs: Consider sharing these databases with faculty members who are organizing seminars or conferences. 
  1. Ask existing sources to recommend people who are underrepresented in the field. SANDSWA member Padma Nagappan, who covers science and research at San Diego State University, has experienced success with this approach. “I’ve found that your sources, and others who serve as conduits, can often point you in the right direction, or to the right folks, so it never hurts to ask,” says Nagappan. “Even if your rolodex is limited,  people you know can lead you to diverse voices, and place on your radar researchers who may not be in the limelight but are doing great work.”

PIOs: Ask your faculty members this question when including third party quotes in your press releases or stories. If they can’t name anyone, consider sharing the databases above as resources. 

  1. Follow diverse scientists on Twitter. To start, check out the Open Notebook’s great Twitter lists, which includes people who identify as Black and STEM, queer in STEM or are D&I STEM Advocates
  1. Bonus tip: Familiarize yourself with affinity groups such as the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), National Society of Black Physicists, Black in Neuro, MAES (Latinos in Science and Engineering) and many others. This can yield new resources and some (but not all) groups are open to helping reporters find sources. PIOs: Consider sharing relevant organizations with faculty members who are organizing seminars or need help finding scientists who are underrepresented. 

For more resources and guidance, check out the Open Notebook article “Finding Diverse Sources for Science Stories. In the meantime, we hope these tips help you expand the voices that are represented in your science stories.

Do you have a tip to add to this list? We’d love to hear it. Contact Monica May at monmay6@gmail.com to share more details. 

The next meeting of the SANDSWA Social Justice in Science Writing club will discuss the reading guides from the affinity organizations below and take place on Friday, Feb. 26, from 2-3 pm. Register today to attend (must be a current SANDSWA member): bit.ly/2Mwz50U

National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)‘s Style Guide: https://bit.ly/2Yfi25N

Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)’s Reporting and Indigenous Terminology Guide: https://bit.ly/39l4UTi

Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)’s Tribal Nations Media Guide: https://bit.ly/3t0XJHG

Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)’s Covering Asia and Asian Americans: https://bit.ly/39iKomc

NAHJ (National Association of Hispanic Journalists)‘s Cultural Competence Handbook: https://bit.ly/2Yi973P

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists‘ Stylebook: http://bit.ly/3a9QuV9

Trans Journalist Association’s Style Guide: http://bit.ly/2MwzyQI

National Center on Disability and Journalism’s Style Guide: http://bit.ly/3qYzZ4T

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