[IMAGE] A group of mostly female-presenting people of color with open laptops sitting around a meeting table

As part of our extensive research, we’ve done a lot of work studying frequent commenters and comment readers. But what about people who don’t feel represented by the news they read, nor are present in existing community conversations? If that sounds like you, we need your help.

We’re partnering with the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas to create Having Our Say: Online News Consumption and Commenting Behaviors Among Women and Non-Binary/Non-Gender Conforming People of Color. This new study is being led by Dr Meredith Clark. It focuses on the online news consumption and commenting behavior of women and gender non-conforming/non-binary people of color.

‘Having Our Say’ is a move towards filling the prominent gap in news research around how underserved communities engage with news. From lack of editorial oversight to racist and gendered abuse in comment spaces, communities around journalism have not served women and gender non-conforming/non-binary people of color well, if at all.

Meanwhile, improving diversity in news has focused almost entirely on representation within the newsroom; while that is certainly a necessary part of improving how journalism can serve more people, this study seeks to address equally fundamental questions around how and where underserved people engage with news in the English language.

We will conduct this research using mixed methods guided by the experiences of the audience – and we need your help. Our first step will be convening focus groups of 60- to 90-minute duration, to discuss people’s experiences of consuming and commenting on news.

We are looking for volunteers who:

  • Self identify as woman or gender non binary/non conforming, and as a person of color
  • Are aged 18 or older
  • Read news online in the English language

This isn’t only for current commenters – we are looking for all types of traditionally underserved people across a wide variety of online behavior.

To apply to participate in this study, go to this link and fill out the consent form. UPDATE: We are not currently looking for participants.

Potential participants will be sent a follow-up survey to confirm eligibility. Focus groups will be conducted remotely online in English and may involve follow-up interviews. Participants will receive a $25 Amazon or Wal-Mart gift card for volunteering their time, and the data collected by the study will be anonymized and used by The Coral Project to inform the creation of more inclusive commenting experiences. The study will also be shared publicly.

We truly believe journalism needs everyone – and we need your to help make that possible.

If you have any questions about the study, please contact our Community Lead, Sydette Harry: sydette@mozillafoundation.org

Let us know what you think about our new study in our community.

Photo courtesy of WOCintechatCC Attribution License 3.0