admin | March 29, 2020
As countries around the world respond to COVID-19, good reporting practices are required to dispel myths, counter misinformation, and address fake news. Good reporting practices also help listeners remain calm and take appropriate action. Here are some tips and resources on how to make quality radio programs about COVID-19.
Please note that some of these resources are very technical. Broadcasters should make sure they only broadcast information they fully comprehend and use language their listeners will understand. Radio programs about COVID-19 should focus on increasing knowledge and precaution instead of increasing fear.
For basic information on COVID-19
The World Health Organization has created a guide to answer basic questions about COVID-19: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
For the full list of preventative actions recommended by the World Health Organization, go to: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Tips, tools, and resources for covering COVID-19
In 2017, we produced a Broadcaster how-to guide on planning and producing emergency response programming: http://scripts.farmradio.fm/radio-resource-packs/105-farm-radio-resource-pack/plan-produce-effective-emergency-response-programming-farmers/
The World Health Organization has put together a guide on do’s and don’ts for COVID-19 coverage and how to address social stigma: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/covid19-stigma-guide.pdf
The BBC created a top ten list of tips for journalists covering COVID-19: https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcmediaaction/entries/1f096f1c-88d1-4084-9806-ae5125b983fc
For more tips and tools on covering COVID-19 from the World Federation of Science Journalists, go to: https://wfsj-briefing.org/external/tips-and-tools-for-reporting-on-covid-19/view/
How to stop misinformation and prevent panic
To counter fake news about COVID-19, broadcasters should work to dispel myths. The World Health Organization dispels some common myths about COVID-19 here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
For more answers to questions about common COVID-19 myths, go to: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/20/can-a-face-mask-protect-coronavirus-covid-19-myths-elderly
See Africa Check’s fact-checking on COVID-19 here: https://africacheck.org/reports/live-guide-all-our-coronavirus-fact-checks-in-one-place/
To prevent panic while covering COVID-19, the World Federation of Science Journalists recommends:
- Avoiding opinion-based and emotionally-loaded words such as “deadly.”
- Explaining preventative actions such as proper hand washing technique and how to practice social distancing.
- Presenting information creatively and appropriately for the needs of your community.
- Avoiding racism.
- Focusing on facts instead of opinions.
To read more tips from the World Federation of Science Journalists on good reporting, choosing experts, and fact-checking, go to: https://wfsj-briefing.org/external/tips-for-journalists-covering-covid-19/view/
The World Federation of Science Journalists has created a resource collection of trustworthy information to use when covering COVID-19, including basic information, global experts, and tips for good reporting: https://wfsj-briefing.org/?cn-reloaded=1
For more information on the international response to COVID-19
For more information on the international response to COVID-19, the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance has created a collection of resources and reports: https://covid19.alnap.org/?mc_cid=cd27cc3f50&mc_eid=08263bedf6
Stay safe and healthy
To help journalists stay safe and healthy while covering COVID-19, the Committee to Protect Journalists has created this list of tips and resources: https://cpj.org/2020/02/cpj-safety-advisory-covering-the-coronavirus-outbr.php
International situations like these can be very stressful for journalists. Here are some tips to help you manage stress levels and take care of your mental health: https://wfsj-briefing.org/external/tips-and-tools-for-reporting-on-covid-19/view/