Reporting on COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus: resources for journalists

Table of Contents

The very nature of the current novel coronavirus crisis means that a lot of journalists who have no speciality in health, epidemiology, virology or immunology are going to be called on to report on and around the subject. But it's changing fast, and lot is unknown — and getting it wrong can have serious consequences.

Nobody needs my hot take on the situation, so I'm pulling together a list of useful resources for the non-specialist journalists trying to get a handle on the situation.

Last updated: 13th May 2020


As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, journalists, fact-checkers, educators and students around the world look to Poynter for best practices in covering the most significant story of this generation. Thanks to donations and grants, Poynter is able to provide more resources, reporting and training for…

First Draft

As ever, First Draft should be your first stop in seperating the fact from the misinformation:

Tips for reporting on Covid-19 and slowing the spread of misinformation
As the world looks for timely, accurate news about the novel coronavirus, how can journalists best provide their audiences the information they need?

First Draft has also produced a set of resources for covering this crisis.

ICFJ Forum

The Intrentaional Centre for Journalists is planning an online forum for journalists covering the epedemic:

Reuters Institute

How journalists can help stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak
Here are 11 tips on how to report on the outbreak from Trudie Lang and Peter Drobac, two public health experts from the University of Oxford


Mark Little has created a list of people worth following:

As has Gavin Sheridan:

The Interactive Journalism students at City, University of London have also produced a list:

Top seven Twitter accounts to follow for coronavirus updates - Interhacktives
A definitive list of verified and trustworthy accounts for the latest news on coronavirus.

A thread of useful resources:

Thread by @risj_oxford: 1. Newsrooms around the world have been grappling with many challenges while covering the #CoronavirusPandemic. Here are a few articles with…
Thread by @risj_oxford: 1. Newsrooms around the world have been grappling with many challenges while covering the #CoronavirusPandemic. Here articles with good advice on how to report on the current crisis. If you find them helpful, please share them wit…

The Dart Centre has published a useful article with concise links to resources on working with emergency services, trauma reporting and so on:


Don’t Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus [Updated 3/12]
This is a fast-moving epidemic—we’ll update this guide at 3pm EDT every day.


I found this article - by a scientist - useful for getting my head around the topic:

Rupert Beale · Short Cuts: Wash Your Hands · LRB 19 March 2020
Humanity will get through this fine, but be prepared for major changes in how we function and behave as a society...

This is also a useful article, from a journalist with experience coveraging epidemics:

I Lived Through SARS and Reported on Ebola. These Are the Questions We Should Be Asking About Coronavirus. — ProPublica
ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

Here's some pieces discussing how journalists should address this crisis:

How to Report on the COVID-19 Outbreak Responsibly
Remember, the virus doesn’t follow the news and doesn’t care about Twitter
Coronavirus crisis demands journalism collaboration, not competition
It’s Sunday, March 8. Two of America’s best journalism organizations are featuring deep looks into the confusion, incompetence, and outright malfeasance that has marked the Trump administration’s…

Paul Bradshaw recommended these:

Media Faces Challenges in Covering Coronavirus Outbreak
Covering the coronavirus story requires careful navigation and constant attention.
Tips for Journalists Covering COVID-19 - Global Investigative Journalism Network
To support journalists in Coronavirus coverage, GIJN pulled together advice from various journalism organizations, experienced journalists, and experts.



A good Vox explainer on the likely roots of the virus: