Journalism is no longer merely a broadcast medium. Any story starts with sources, and who those sources are is a result of many factors – editorial choices, people who were available or unavailable, people who would or wouldn’t talk, people without phones or email who are difficult to reach, not to mention our own biases, experience and lack of experience.
So who is the community for Engine30 and how do we make the process of creating Engine30 more transparent? We started by identifying everyone we talked as we fanned out across Los Angeles to interview artists and arts administrators, and to tour cultural sites. The process of journalism is increasingly carried out in public, and this provides a means of building and connecting communities around news and information. We are acknowledging our sources, even if they aren’t directly quoted in the published pieces.
This analysis also reveals centers of influence and our comfort zones, such as the sources that multiple reporters turned to for comment. In this Engine30 visualization, we examine access in arts reporting. Who gets a voice in the reporting process? Who was consulted?
By tracking every interview and site visit during the making of Engine30, we show the connections built around the making of Engine30 This also reveals who didn’t get included. This is Engine30.
This visualization tracks influence within a community, including interviews and visits to cultural institutions we made for journalistic purposes. It also tracks sources interviewed in the making of Engine30.
We delineated our sources into four categories: artists (including makers and designers), administrators and institutional representatives from arts organizations and government agencies, academics and writers, and members of the broadly conceived general public, including arts patrons.
For this visualization, we consider interviews two-way conversations, with the interviewer shaping the scope and direction of the interaction. We track panels, lectures and tours as one-way conversations. We also consider site visits one-way influences. We did not include people who were unable or declined to speak to us. We did not include press officers and intermediaries with whom we spoke to secure interviews with other people. Journalists can be sloppy blurring lines between source and friend, so we left it to each reporter to determine whom they defined as source as opposed to friend, limiting this data set to Engine30 sources.
In addition to interviews, we also note institutional affiliations. While direct connections certainly arise out of shared institutional affiliations, we wanted to note the structural connections that underscore a community. For example, the disparate group of journalists, designers and developers working on Engine30 was bound together “institutionally by the project. We consider institutions both the idea of the institution and its physical space.