Our coverage should reflect the true complexity of the world we live in.
To present a complete picture of the world, NPR needs to cover a broad range of stories that will interest all sorts of people. So while it’s natural to notice news that relates to events or issues you’re personally interested in, it’s also crucial to ask yourself what other people – people who would disagree with you, who live in other parts of the country, who have had vastly different life experiences from yours – would consider news. This is especially critical if you and your colleagues share similar backgrounds and points of view; a lack of diversity among employees will lead to less varied story lineups. For our coverage to be truly diverse, it needs to reflect the views of many different groups. We talk to people from different political, socioeconomic and racial groups, and from different parts of the country and world. And factor the prominence we give certain stories into your thinking; regularly ask yourself which themes we might be overplaying and which we might be overlooking.
For example, in a city where traffic and pollution are big problems, reporters, editors and producers who daily drive in that traffic may want to pursue a story about whether a higher national gas tax would encourage people to buy smaller cars. But an equally valid option might be to look at whether a higher national gas tax would unfairly punish drivers in rural areas who have to drive a long distance for work and to go shopping for food, or those who need pickup trucks to do their daily work.
So you not only need to look at all the different angles of a story, but at all the different possible stories that help to fill in the picture of what’s taking place across the country or around the world.
October 21, 2011