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Reporter’s Toolbox: Journalism Associations, Other Groups Offer COVID-19 Reporting Resources
By Joseph A. Davis
Chances are that you will have to write something related to COVID-19, and also that you may be in unfamiliar territory. Help is on the way.
Quite a few outlets and organizations have compiled guides to resources that can aid you. Here’s a collection.
- Society of Environmental Journalists. Our own SEJournal has published a backgrounder on COVID-19 connections to energy and the environment, a TipSheet on environmental aspects of the rescue bill and another TipSheet on safely covering a public health emergency. SEJ.org also has a COVID-19 resource page with the latest coronavirus headlines, events, funding info, articles and other resources.
- Society of Professional Journalists/Journalist’s Toolbox. This SPJ blog, a unique compendium of handy things for journalists compiled and maintained by teacher and polymath Mike Reilley, published a special collection focused on COVID-19 and related topics. Updates planned.
- National Association of Science Writers. This large, membership-based professional organization has published a good resource list, “Resources for covering COVID-19.” It also runs a free discussion list on the subject, is conducting a survey of journalists, and has issued a statement advocating allowing government health officials to speak freely to reporters.
- Association of Health Care Journalists. AHCJ has published “Coronaviruses: Background and sources for your reporting.”
- State press associations. The Kansas press group has a collection of COVID-19 resources, some of which are only pertinent to Kansas. The Ohio News Media Association publishes a list of COVID-19 resources, many of them Ohio-centric. Here are tips from the Iowa Newspaper Association. Check to see if your state’s news association has info.
Other journalism organizations
- First Draft. This international nonprofit is a partnership of organizations focused on journalism. It has published “Coronavirus: Resources for reporters,” and will update it.
- Poynter Institute. A national nonprofit offering all kinds of journalism education, Poynter has published many resources for journalists covering COVID-19.
Open information organizations
- Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. This robust nonprofit devoted to press freedom (and related legal help) has published “Press freedom and government transparency during COVID-19,” which may help you maneuver through the range of access restrictions stemming from the outbreak.
- Committee to Protect Journalists. This international nonprofit watchdog against threats to press freedom and safety has various COVID-19 resources. Those include an excellent safety advisory for journalists covering the virus.
- Student Press Law Center. This nonprofit focused on fighting censorship and other support for student journalists has published “Coronavirus toolkit.”
International journalism resources
- Global Investigative Journalism Network. This international nonprofit collaboration of journalism organizations has published “Investigating a Pandemic” along with quite a few other COVID-19 journalism resources.
- Journalism.co.uk. This U.K.-based, for-profit journalists’ resource published “Lessons from Italy: best practices for field reporting during the coronavirus lockdown.”
Other journalism groups and centers
- Solutions Journalism Network. This nonprofit consortium of journalism organizations and J-schools supporting solutions journalism has published a newsletter, and started an exchange forum on COVID-19 topics for journalists.
- The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University has published several COVID-19-related items, including “The Value of Slow Journalism During a Rapidly-Developing Story of Pandemic.”
Joseph A. Davis is a freelance writer/editor in Washington, D.C. who has been writing about the environment since 1976. He writes SEJournal Online's TipSheet, Reporter's Toolbox and Issue Backgrounder, as well as compiling SEJ's weekday news headlines service EJToday. Davis also directs SEJ's Freedom of Information Project and writes the WatchDog column and WatchDog Alert.
* From the weekly news magazine SEJournal Online, Vol. 5, No. 13. Content from each new issue of SEJournal Online is available to the public via the SEJournal Online main page. Subscribe to the e-newsletter here. And see past issues of the SEJournal archived here.