Researchers urge journalists to examine who gets quoted in news stories

While the value of different sources can be subjective, newsrooms have a responsibility to interrogate their choices surrounding which voices get the most coverage, researchers agreed at a recent conference on local news.  

Asmaa Malik, assistant professor at the Ryerson School of Journalism, emphasized that in a fast-paced newsroom, reporters rarely have time to question the value judgements they make. Yet, “research shows that news favours powerful people,” who get quoted more often and are featured more prominently in stories.

When the same voices continue to be amplified over and over, readers lose the opportunity to hear from more diverse sources.

Journalists became humanitarians during the Ebola outbreak, says science journalism researcher

During the Ebola epidemic that spread across West Africa, local journalists were forced to redefine their roles, from reporters to humanitarian workers, say researchers who are still investigating the media crisis that overlapped with the 2014 health disaster.

Some days, the journalists tasked with reporting on Ebola weren’t even coming back to their editors with stories, says David Secko, science communications researcher and chair of Concordia’s journalism program. Instead, they were busy helping to deal with the outbreak and educate people on the ground.

Muslim communities are telling new stories to break old stereotypes, say panelists

If you want to learn about the Muslim community, don’t read the news, says the associate editor of The Islamic Monthly.

Steven Zhou, who converted to Islam six years ago, said writing about a community takes time and resources.

As a result, too many publications produce “surface-level” stories fulfilling their role as being part of the public record “because the truth needs to be told.” But as a freelancer for publications including CBC News Online, Zhou said he’s sympathetic.

“It’s easier to make money pounding out a thousand words in your underwear than it is to go on a bus and spend your money and cover something,” he said.