Carleton Journalism school graduate, Karissa Gall, has launched a free WordPress plugin to help reduce stigma surrounding mental illness.

Media Guide-o-Matic inventor Karissa Gall is pictured outside her home in Chatham Ontario on May 17 2021.

Gall graduated from Carleton’s Master of Journalism program in 2018. The plugin, “Media Guide-o-Matic,” automatically checks draft WordPress posts for words and phrases that have been identified as contributors to stigma in the third edition of Mindset: Reporting on Mental Health.

Gall said she developed the plugin for her capstone Master’s Research Project to save time for journalists who are working to highlight critical mental health issues, without contributing to stigma.

“I realized that even though the Mindset guide was available to the media, reputable news organizations were still perpetuating stigma by using the wrong words and phrases in their stories,” said Gall. “Journalists on deadline need user-friendly tools, like spell-checking, to improve their reporting, which is how I got the idea for Media Guide-o-Matic.”

Gall worked with Ottawa-based digital marketing firm Flewid to develop the plugin, with partial funding from the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma. She said the tool was developed for WordPress because it is the most popular content management system in the world.

“My hope is that newsrooms and other types of organizations around the world will download and enable this free tool,” she said. “As André Picard wrote in the foreword for Mindset, journalists should be as willing to write about depression as breast cancer. This plugin will help them do so ethically and efficiently, with confidence.”

To view an explainer video about the plugin, visit https://vimeo.com/253338664.

To download the plugin, visit https://wordpress.org/plugins/media-guide-o-matic-alert/.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 in ,
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