Photograph by Obi – @pixel7propix through Unsplash

Over the previous three years, I’ve regularly looked for recent, up to date data and assets to assist improve your COVID-19 protection. 

A brand new one which not too long ago caught my consideration is the COVID-19 Misinformation Playbook (2023), produced by the Online News Association, which represents digital journalists and media professionals. 

The playbook, edited by Chicago-based freelance reporter Meena Thiruvengadam, is well-researched and straightforward to make use of. It goals to assist new reporters stand up to hurry on their COVID protection and serves as a information for journalists overlaying public well being emergencies sooner or later. The tip sheet is constructed upon a earlier model printed by ONA in 2021, and was created by a bunch of journalists to assist reporters decide which public well being businesses had essentially the most dependable details about the pandemic.

“For this replace, I did a whole lot of reporting — reaching out to consultants, gathering ideas from stakeholders, Google sleuthing, and many others.,” Thiruvengadam mentioned. “I additionally approached the useful resource as I’d from an area newsroom. If I’m a newish journalist desirous to cowl a chunk of this story, what would I have to really feel in control?”

I appreciated that the tip sheet begins with a reminder that the pandemic story isn’t over and that there are three questions reporters ought to preserve asking it doesn’t matter what story they’re writing: 

  • “Is this case actual and necessary, or am I shopping for into framing of sources who might have ulterior motives? 
  • Am I assured within the accuracy of my reporting or dashing to get one thing out forward of the competitors?
  •  Am I legitimizing one thing I shouldn’t simply by overlaying it?” 

Different good assets within the information embrace the best way to decide a dependable knowledgeable, a COVID-19 Diverse Sources Database, fact-checking instruments and viewers literacy assets. If a reporter is in search of concepts on the best way to tailor tales for his or her area people, the information factors to the Chattanooga Instances Free Press and their technique for retaining  readers all in favour of COVID protection.

There’s additionally a useful resource for overlaying lengthy COVID, which Thiruvengadam thinks isn’t getting sufficient protection. (Full disclosure: Included in Thiruvengadam’s information is the tip sheet Tara Haelle and I co-authored for AHCJ on overlaying lengthy COVID on the finish of 2022.)

“I believe the largest shock is how little protection I’m seeing on lengthy COVID, notably from native newsrooms and concerning the folks affected,” she wrote. Check out this necessary April 20 story co-authored by STAT’s Rachel Cohrs and COVID-19 Information Dispatch’s Betsy Ladyhetz referred to as: “The NIH has poured $1 billion into long Covid research – with little to show for it.

And to finish this publish, I wished to place out a request to AHCJ members: I’m updating my 2021 COVID-19 reporter’s essential toolkit, and I’d admire enter from you. What assets am I lacking? Please ship your concepts to [email protected].


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By Debra