Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato, a freelance science journalist based out of Washington, D.C., published a series of articles on a tight deadline in 2017 when she realized something — all of her sources were white men. So she created a tool to connect journalists with diverse scientists.
Diverse Sources was launched in Oct. 2017 by Bloudoff-Indelicato and her colleague Greg Linch. The website is a tool for journalists to contact underrepresented scientists for interviews. The site, at the time of writing, features 360 biologists, nutritionists, astronomers and other scientists from all around the world. Bloudoff-Indelicato says there are many more awaiting her verification. The scientist’s specialty, time zone, phone number, and email are listed.
“It hit me that there needed to be something out there so that there was no excuse for not including diverse sources [and] diverse perspectives in the narrative,” Bloudoff-Indelicato said.
Bloudoff-Indelicato’s site is trying to crack a problem that is perpetuated by journalists.
In 2013, Holly Jean Buck from Cornell University conducted a media study to see how many women were being quoted on the topic of geoengineering. Out of 96 articles, 485 of the quotes were from men. 15 were from women.
Diverse Sources scientists are already being contacted by top-tier news outlets.
Liz Redford, a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the University of Florida, was surprised when she saw an email pop into her inbox from an NPR reporter. She was interviewed shortly after.
“I think [Diverse Sources] can change who we think is a credible expert,” Redford said.
Dr. Maureen McKeague from ETH Zurich in Switzerland was told about Diverse Sources through a friend.
“I immediately signed up to be a source. A few weeks later is when the Washington Post reached out to me…I have to admit, there was a moment where I was a bit nervous. ‘Am I the right source to actually comment on this?’ But then I realized that thinking is why sometimes females get themselves in trouble,” McKeague said. “So I said yes. I immediately made myself available.”
“People who come from a broad diversity of backgrounds—and this may be somewhat controversial—can’t ignore the social implications of their research,” Neha Gajendra Savant said, a conservation biology Master’s student at Columbia University.
“Going to a place like Diverse Sources—if you didn’t have that—you wouldn’t be accessing that kind of perspective on someone’s work. On someone’s expertise. The way that they say things, the way that they phrase things, could be different based on how they see themselves as a scientist in society.”
*Correction: A recent version of this article put the number of scientist waiting for verification for Diverse Sources at hundreds. The number is actually lower, says Bloudoff-Indelicato.
Are you a scientist who wants to be added to Diverse Sources? Join here.
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