How might we assure the inclusion of underrepresented and unheard voices in the mainstream news flow?

What is your journalism challenge? What problem are you working to solve?

I am interested in exploring new ways of integrating the unheard and/or underrepresented voices into the mainstream news. I am very concerned with local coverage of huge cities like the one I come from, São Paulo, in Brazil, where news production is usually highly concentrated in a few neighborhoods and sometimes on even fewer subjects. We need to multiply the viewpoints in stories for the news to be able to really inform, engage and empower citizens about the place where they live.

How would solving this problem help journalism?

My goal is to contribute to the main purpose of journalism: broadly informing the citizens while serving the public interest of supporting democratic rule. Bringing in a diversity of voices to tell the everyday stories of a city will remind us that journalism needs many points of view to become relevant to its audience and, from a business point of view, to contribute to a sustainable existence.

Who is tackling a similar problem and how is your approach different?

There are many news organizations that focus on telling underrepresented stories. In the United States, New America Media aggregates thousands of minority and ethnic news outlets. In France, the website Press & Cité aggregates content of outlets from the many peripherial neighborhoods of Paris. The well-known Global Voices works with collaborators around the world to publish stories not often covered by major media. Mural, a blog project I helped lead in São Paulo, grew out the collaboration of dozens of local correspondents in different neighborhoods. It is hosted by the largest news organization in the state, Folha de S.Paulo, which guarantees mainstream media interest and visibility.

Although all these projects work to get mainstream audiences’ attention, they do not attempt to cross the boundaries between community and mainstream news production. That is what I want to pursue.

What are the first questions you plan to pursue?

  • What has worked or not worked for similar well-known projects around the world?
  • What lessons can I pull from our São Paulo experience that would help me develop a way to cross the boundaries between community and mainstream news production?
  • Are there ways to use digital tools to help make audiences more aware of the importance of having diverse voices in the news they consume?

What are the first steps you plan to take in working on your challenge?

  • Research similar projects that already exist, in order to learn more about what is working well and what is not.
  • Organize and analyze insights, conclusions, common achievements, obstacles and possible challenges.
  • Create a chart of indicators or possible keywords related to diversity and journalism as a first step toward prototyping my ideas for ways to help audiences become more aware of the importance of having diverse perspectives in the news.

Izabela Moi’s bio. Have suggestions or questions about this challenge? Email