a book whows a map to follow a path

This practical playbook will help you figure out if you, your team, or your organization is ready to start source tracking. 

We’ll walk you through common blockers (people, ideas or tasks that stop work from moving forward) that we expect many news teams to face as they bring the source tracking tool and workflow into their shops. These are the kinds of challenges that can really derail your work if left unaddressed. We’ll also walk you through how to address them.


FOUR CHALLENGES YOU MAY FACE AS YOU START SOURCE TRACKING: 

Read the questions below and see what feels the most familiar to you. You may move through this playbook in a sequentially, but you also may choose your own adventure based on the challenges you are facing.

  • Are you unsure of who will help you roll out source tracking?
  • Are you worried you’ll face loud opposition to change ?
  • Are you working to build a coalition of consensus? 
  • How will journalists make time for source tracking?
  • How can managers create trade-off time to free up journalists? 
  • How do you create a habit around a new workflow?
  • We started source tracking, now what? 
  • How will we know if it’s working?
  • How do we capture and maintain momentum?
  • What if source tracking takes the place of another important DEI initiative?
  • How can we parallel track source tracking work with additional DEIB work?
  • Why is source tracking only one piece of the DEI puzzle?

A fancy steak knife can’t save an overcooked steak.

Any tool is only as good as its application, which means it’s possible for news organizations to use a source tracking tool while still struggling to make meaningful change around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) issues.

But, there are red flags to watch for along the way, and this practical playbook was designed to help you select the right cut of meat, nail the cook on your steak, pair it perfectly with a delicious plant-based option, then serve both to your hungry crowd. Either way, a strategically put-together plan is needed for a fun time for all.

Is this a point-by-point, step-by-step guide to success? Nope, but we, too, wish we had all the answers to every newsroom’s problems. What this is, however, is a playbook that can help your team execute on a smoother onboarding of source tracking, and also helps you integrate this initiative with your existing larger DEIB strategy. 

Change is hard and most of us are just doing the best we can on any given day. Journalists’ jobs have dramatically transformed over the past two decades and those changes aren’t going to slow any time soon. 

You’ll face nay-sayers who disagree with you. You’ll face overworked and underpaid folks who are barely keeping it together because their plates are already overflowing. You’ll face slashing budgets and hiring freezes that only stretch the team further. 

That’s why it matters how you introduce a framework like source tracking. It can’t simply be presented as yet another task for someone to complete. Part of your role as the changemaker is to help folks feel bought in on the WHY behind the changes that will affect them. This playbook will help you figure out a way that works for you and your team.

Remind your team that you cannot measure progress if you aren’t measuring anything.

Remind them that they will not be able to effectively change their reporting and storytelling without first collecting accurate and authentic data about their sources. Remind them that all of this work is in service of our audiences — both the ones we currently reach and those we are working to reach.  

Remind them that they will not be able to effectively change their reporting and storytelling without first collecting accurate and authentic data about their sources. Remind them that all of this work is in service of our audiences — both the ones we currently reach and those we are working to reach.  


PICK YOUR NEXT STEP ⤵

This practical playbook was created by Emma Carew Grovum, Sisi Wei, Will Lager