How journalists and PR pros can work together to amplify diverse voices

We can only accomplish this by working together.

Helping diverse sources get media attention

Lauren Stralo is director of public relations at LevLane Advertising.

I recently responded to a query in which a reporter was searching for a source for a national top-tier publication — a golden opportunity for any client.

In my initial rush to secure an interview (we’ve all felt that, right?), I offered up an expert from one of the organizations I represent: someone whose contact details I already had and could easily reach out to on short notice – this (excellent) source happened to be a man.

After a bit of back and forth, it became obvious that our schedules conflicted. At that point, I offered another (excellent) source: a Black woman from the same organization.



The reporter’s response was nothing short of perfection: “Great, and even better that it’s a female source.”

This conversation, though short and maybe seemingly insignificant to some, spotlighted an important media and public relations trend: For many reporters, finding a source isn’t simply filling a slot or ticking a box.

This short exchange reminded me that journalists and news readers are hungry for diverse perspectives, and it’s on us as public relations representatives to ensure that these diverse voices are heard, sought out, and celebrated.

A rising trend: Reporters seeking diverse expert sources

“POC and/or female source to comment.”

“Women and BIPOC sources preferred.”

“Relevant BIPOC, AAPI and LGBTQ+ experts encouraged to reach out.”

The examples above are just a few recent requests we’ve fielded – and I have loved seeing them.

I’ve been pitching expert sources for nearly a decade, and the call for diverse voices is a trend that is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Our role is no longer about securing any  expert but seeking people who bring a unique perspective to the conversation. Will it happen every single time? Maybe not. But we should do everything we can to shine light on the invaluable insights and experiences that diverse voices offer in shaping narratives across various industries.

So, how can we as PR pros ensure this happens?

Through training and engagement

What I have seen throughout my career is that those whose voices have been traditionally underrepresented are more hesitant to contribute to or partake in media relations activities. Often, the feedback we get is that they don’t believe they have the authority or credibility to speak to reporters – and they will pass the opportunity on to a colleague or someone else in their organization.

We need to initiate opportunities for talent to feel supported and more confident to enter the spotlight. By encouraging more women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ professionals to participate in events like press trainings, panels and conferences, we can build that confidence and press readiness.

But this kind of confidence isn’t just about polishing someone’s ability to communicate; it’s also about empowering traditionally marginalized voices to own their stories and expertise with conviction.

Encouraging participation is one piece of the puzzle; every pitch, every panel and every conference should be seen as a chance to do more than just include; it should serve as an opportunity to bring these narratives to the forefront.

Building contact networks of experts from diverse backgrounds

A practical but important strategy is establishing a contact list comprising women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ professionals interested in engaging with the press. Most people don’t know where to start when looking for press coverage. A simple yet effective way is to simply ask who has an interest in working with reporters.

You might find surprising sources this way.

Building up this contact list and regularly reaching out to this network ensures that opportunities are extended equitably.

Beyond compiling contact lists and facilitating direct connections between experts and reporters, check-ins and desk-side meetings are valuable opportunities for building relationships that can lead to sustained partnerships.

The stories we tell and the voices we amplify matter. As media and public relations professionals, we can make it happen. Our jobs are vitally important in this sense, and it’s an equally important goal that PR pros and journalists can achieve together.


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