Mainstream media has historically ignored and systemically overlooked experts of color as potential sources for stories resulting in inequitable coverage that does not accurately reflect marginalized communities and their lived experiences.
That’s why NJ.com and the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University have teamed up to launch the New Jersey Diverse Source Database. The database is a publicly accessible list of experts of color across New Jersey. Our goal is to help journalists in the state better reflect the communities they cover and connect them with trusted local experts who can provide new perspectives and insight to their stories.
The database is modeled after Spotlight PA’s Diverse Source Database in Pennsylvania and also localizes some of what has been done on a nationwide-level.
All information is self-reported by participants and will be verified before publication. If you see a mistake in the database, want to be removed or have any other concerns, email info at DiverseSourcesNJ.com.
Know someone who should be included in the database? Nominate them here!
Who is eligible to be included?
Individuals who identify as a person of color or part of a marginalized community are eligible to be included in the Diverse Source Database. We’re looking for sources covering a wide range of expertise: from politics, to arts, to science, sports and more!
What happens when I nominate someone?
Once you nominate someone, our team will review their information to ensure the person meets our eligibility standards. We’ll then contact your nominee to let them know they have been nominated and ask if they want to be included in the database. If so, we’ll collect additional information from them.
If you don’t see your nominee in the database, it’s possible they did not meet the eligibility standards or chose not to be included.
What happens if I’m nominated?
If you’ve been nominated, congrats! We’ll contact you to let you know about the nomination and ask whether you’d like to be included. If you do, we will send you a form where you can create your source profile. This will include information such as your biography, areas of expertise, social handles and the best way to reach you.
By filling out a source profile and agreeing to be listed on the database, you’re agreeing to have reporters and media makers contact you. Appearing in the database doesn’t require any kind of time or financial commitment, and you are not obligated to speak to any particular reporter about any story. However, we hope those who participate are generally interested in speaking to areas within their expertise.
Can I nominate myself? How about multiple people?
Yes and yes!
Why should I, a reporter, give away my sources?
Sources on this database are openly known as experts in their field. As a reporter, we are asking you to contribute to this project as a public good that will improve inclusion and equity in journalism. We are not asking you to disclose valuable informants or sensitive information, but rather amplify voices that are often left out of the conversation.
Will this create a list for people to be targeted?
While our intention is to help sources listed in this database gain access to the mainstream media, we recognize that information posted online is available to anyone. Given that, participation is optional and the people included in the database have consented to sharing their information.
We modeled this database after others like it, including one in Pennsylvania and several national efforts. Often, participants of such forums view them as a form of professional affiliation.