Brazilian journalists create digital news platform specializing on gender issues and data journalism

Next month, a group of women Brazilian journalists plan to launch a digital news platform that will use data journalism to address issues related to gender.

Journalists Natalia Mazotte, Giu Bianconi and Maria Lutterbach are developing the project called “Gênero e Número – Narrativas Para a Equidade,” (Gender and Number – Narratives for Equity). In conversation with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, the journalists talked about the design of the platform, the production of reports and expectations for the launch of the site.

“Our idea is to develop an independent journalism initiative that focuses on gender issues, but with the perspective of bringing more data to the debate,” said Mazotte, a reporter and teaching assistant for the Knight Center for many years.

The platform, to be launched in the second week of August, will have a format similar to a magazine. Each month, a new theme will be addressed by using reports and data to deepen the subject matter.

The idea is to select topics that are somehow related to the most important current events. For example, the opening theme will be “Women in Sport” with a focus on the Olympic Games.

Although the work has focused on human rights and issues guides by feminism, the proposal is not to be confused with activist discourse.

“It is not an advocacy project, it is a project of journalism. We want to bridge this group already working and campaigning for gender issues and the general public,” Lutterbach explained.​

The journalists started developing the project seven months ago with support from the Ford Foundation and investigative news site Agência Pública. They are being joined by a team of collaborators, including a developer, designer and reporters.

According to Bianconi, the platform is designed to ensure dynamism of content and engagement with the audience in social networks through the distribution of materials on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

“We imagined a platform that could add different formats so that the narrative did not have the appearance of research, so that the data is presented dynamically and takes advantage of all the possibilities we have today in terms of tools and resources,” Bianconi said.

The databases used in the reports will be available so the public can download the information. The aim is to make them more accessible and to explain the methodology used in the preparation of materials, revealing information from behind the scenes of the journalistic process.​

According to Mazotte, these data will serve not only to support a more qualified debate on the subject, but also to guide the traditional media and assist in the development of public policies.

“The gender debate is still stuck in a niche. Few people talk about the issue, although it is something that concerns everyone,” Mazotte said. “We especially want to work to improve the debate and to go beyond the niche in which the discussions usually take place. Our proposal is to take journalism about gender out of the niche. To pop the bubble.”

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.