Local Indians have a great stake in the salmon fisheries, a center piece to their culture and livelihood.
Portland State alum Tess McBride, principal author, looked at news coverage over more than 6 years and learned that tribal members have little access to the channels of communication.
In other words, tribal folks are sought after less frequently than government sources or advocacy groups (such as the US Humane Society).
Most of the sources quoted in the period we studied—from 2003 to 2010—were state, local or federal government spokespeople, officials and scientists. About 19% were sources for advocacy groups—like animal rights or fishing organizations.
And about 8% were tribal people.
You may ask: Does it matter that so few sources were American Indians?
In our research, we show that sources are an important piece to the information puzzle. When mainstream journalists report on news, they are trained to be objective. Bias free.
But sources have an agenda and reporters depend on sources to help frame stories and add color to the narrative.
So a compelling source can set the framework for a story. And you have greater access to reporters, then it’s more likely your version of the story gets told.
If Indians are rarely quoted then our views are less likely to be heard.
(AP wire photo)