Founder and director of Quote This Woman+ Kath Magrobi says, "Quote this Woman+ 2.0 helps journalists get the interview they want when they want it — and we ensure that the person they quote is a woman, or an expert living with a disability, or who is LGBTQIA+, or who in some other way, has had their voice overlooked or silenced by mainstream media."
Magrobi adds, "We do this because generally, only one in every five voices heard in the news is a woman — and we want to change that."
QW+ version 2.0:
The database tech revamp cost QW+ just under ZAR1.5-million. The Google News initiative contributed towards two-thirds of the costs, with QW+ self-funding the rest, says Quote This Woman+.
"We didn't skimp on usability testing — either with experts or journalists, even though this was tearfully expensive. Our old system wasn't very sophisticated, but we still needed to understand what worked about it, and what didn't — and the same when we built the new platform — we had to test it rigorously before going live," says Magrobi.
Quote This Woman+ says chief improvements included ensuring the security of personal information stored on the database, improving the search function to allow users to find and connect with experts more easily and adding analytics features.
According to the non-profit, journalists can now search specifically for community or academic voices and search within a topic or specific area of expertise. Another new addition is the ability for media practitioners and experts to email each other directly on the site, allowing a two-way connection.
"This project has involved a complete redesign of QW+'s current database and the website it is hosted on, making it more stable, secure, functional and searchable; and improving its value as a tool for journalists and media practitioners all over the world," says Jacky Smith, director from UX Research company How Might We said.
"With 2024 being an election year in South Africa, we've finished just in time. Our database provides members of the media with access to the kind of commentary that results in complex, nuanced stories. We can't wait to see how QW+ 2.0 is used by journalists to showcase a range of voices that allow the lived experiences of women and other marginalised people to be amplified," Magrobi adds.
Magrobi concludes, "We want to thank the Google News Initiative, our partners, our experts and members of the media who are signed up to our database for sharing our vision for news that is diverse, inclusive and reflects the complex realities of people across Africa."
QW+ encourages women+ thought-leaders, community activists and trailblazers throughout Southern Africa and the rest of Africa to sign up as media experts on the database, and invites all media to access the database.
For more information, visit www.quotethiswoman.org.za
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