Public Health

The On-line Information Affiliation releases2023 COVID-19 misinformation playbook


Photograph by Obi – @pixel7propix by way of Unsplash

Over the previous three years, I’ve regularly looked for contemporary, 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 On-line Information Affiliation, 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 rise up to hurry on their COVID protection and serves as a information for journalists protecting public well being emergencies sooner or later. The tip sheet is constructed upon a earlier model revealed by ONA in 2021, and was created by a gaggle of journalists to assist reporters decide which public well being companies had essentially the most dependable details about the pandemic.

“For this replace, I did a whole lot of reporting — reaching out to consultants, gathering strategies from stakeholders, Google sleuthing, and so forth.,” Thiruvengadam mentioned. “I additionally approached the useful resource as I’d from an area newsroom. If I’m a newish journalist eager to cowl a bit of this story, what would I have to really feel on top of things?”

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 essential, or am I shopping for into framing of sources who could 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 protecting it?” 

Different good assets within the information embody methods to decide a dependable professional, a COVID-19 Various Sources Database, fact-checking instruments and viewers literacy assets. If a reporter is searching for concepts on methods to tailor tales for his or her area people, the information factors to the Chattanooga Occasions Free Press and their technique for preserving  readers occupied with COVID protection.

There’s additionally a useful resource for protecting 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 protecting lengthy COVID on the finish of 2022.)

“I feel 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 essential April 20 story co-authored by STAT’s Rachel Cohrs and COVID-19 Knowledge Dispatch’s Betsy Ladyhetz referred to as: “The NIH has poured $1 billion into lengthy Covid analysis – with little to point out for it.

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


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