The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned an infodemic and an onslaught of information that often makes it difficult for journalists to find concise, verified information in the everchanging pandemic landscape.
In 2020 AVAC’s work to support journalists in reporting accurately on HIV prevention science expanded to include support to report on COVID. As part of that work, we are curating resources to help journalists find high quality, understandable information. The list of resources below will be updated frequently. You can also reach out to AVAC at firstname.lastname@example.org with specific questions about COVID science or to be linked to experts who can answer your questions.
Through the Media Science Café Program AVAC partners with health media associations in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe to bring journalists together with researchers, implementers, civil society, regulators and policy makers to build relationships that will foster accurate reporting of COVID in those countries. Our partners include: Media for Environment Science, Health & Agriculture (MEHSA) in Kenya, Health Journalist Network in Uganda (HEJNU), Media Science Cafe (MESICA) in Zambia and Health Communicators Forum Zimbabwe through a partnership with the Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre. If you are a journalist in one of those countries and want to be connected to the café program, please contact us at email@example.com.
Check out the Internews course Let’s Talk COVID for help in telling the complex story of COVID. Internews partners with AVAC on the Media Science Café Program and has a wealth of resources for journalists on their website.
- Our World in Data’s COVID section provides an in-depth look at frequently updated COVID data globally and by country. It is a great first stop when you are looking for COVID data. You can generate and freely use maps, table and graphs from the data found there.
- Africa CDC’s COVID Dashboard provides updates on COVID cases and deaths across the continent. The vaccine portal provides updates on the status of vaccinations and where vaccine donations are coming from.
- WHO’s COVID dashboard tracks cases, deaths and vaccinations as reported to WHO and public health and social measures enacted as rules and guidelines by countries.
- Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center tracks global and country-specific data that can often be broken down by age, race, gender and other demographic information.
- The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) tracks data and uses modelling to project COVID cases, deaths and other metrics globally, regionally and in some countries.
- IHME’s COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Summary tracks the estimated the effectiveness of all vaccines against infection, symptomatic and severe disease (hospitalization and death), and how that effectiveness wanes over time. It is regularly updated.
- The New York Times COVID Vaccine Tracker tracks the state of vaccines under study and approved for use. It also provides an overview of the research process and of different kinds of vaccines being tested.
- Internews Let’s Talk Vaccines course takes journalists on a journey of discovery from evolving vaccine science to how to hold governments to account to ensure all people get access to a COVID-19 vaccine, and on to strategies to address vaccine misinformation.
- The New York Times COVID Drug and Treatment Tracker tracks “the most talked about” drugs being tested or approved. It also notes treatments that have been identified as fraud by experts.
- Check out GAVI’s Variant Explainer to understand about the variants and how and why they are named as they are.
Understanding Science and Research
- Confused about scientific terms used around COVID research? Check out COVID glossaries from Internews, WebMD and KFF.
- Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy online course Using Academic Research to Keep Politicians Honest shows how reporters, editors and columnists can use research articles as a powerful tool for holding governments and politicians accountable and for fighting disinformation. It provides a great guide for reading and using scientific publications.
- Check out Good Participatory Practice in COVID-19 research. It’s targeted to researchers, but also provides journalists with a good overview of how COVID research should be designed to ensure ethical trials that take community views into account.
- Our World in Data’s randomized control trials overview looks at why these trials matter and how they work.
- The fast pace of science responding to the pandemic has led to much of the research being published in preprints instead of or ahead of peer review publications. Check out this explainer on the difference between preprint and peer review publications and why it matters from Johns Hopkins University.
- Harvard’s Journalist Resource site explains the most common types of research papers journalists will encounter, noting their strengths and weaknesses.
- Retraction Watch’s list of retracted COVID papers is a one-stop resource to check on papers previously published, but retracted.
- The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s SciLine COVID Resources provides science-based resources for journalists covering COVID-19, including downloadable video, and quotes from experts.
Factchecking and Myth-busting
- Africacheck is a great place to fact check key public statements by topic, including on COVID. They publish fact-checking reports to inform and guide public debate.
- Politifacts COVID page fact checks social media posts about COVID and provides links to their sources.
- The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s fact check page is frequently updated and provides links to a variety of other fact checking sources.
- Read the International Journalist Network tips for reporting on science skepticism and tips for reporting on vaccines, hesitancy and misinformation.
- Follow MediaWise on Instagram for real time fact checks of social media posts.
- WHO’S Mythbusters page is a comprehensive and frequently updated resource to debunk misinformation about COVID-19.
- Agence France-Presse regularly updates its fact-checking page about COVID-19.
- Check out this Twitter fact check list that aggregates verified fact checks.