Covid-19: How to keep your audience informed | #mediadev | DW | 30.03.2020
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Covid-19: How to keep your audience informed

The coronavirus pandemic affects journalists and media organizations across the globe. DW Akademie is sharing and collecting best practice during the crisis.

A man wears a mask in the streets of Sylhet, Bangladesh, as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus

A man wears a mask in the streets of Sylhet, Bangladesh, as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus

The coronavirus disease COVID-19 will challenge health systems around the world in the coming weeks and months. Although most people who get sick from COVID-19 recover quickly, a small number of people will get seriously ill or even die. In many places, public health measures restricting citizens’ movements have already been imposed.

Especially during times of crisis, communities look to the media for trustworthy information. At the same time, journalists and media organizations, and NGOs might be struggling to cope with the situation themselves.

Providing citizens with information is a vital task. To support media organizations and NGOs around the globe, DW Akademie is setting up a web page with up-to-date sources and resources. We aim to help media professionals around the world to organize their work, find accurate information, identify and fact-check rumours, and engage with their audience during this crisis. This page is a work in progress, as we all learn more about the disease and its impact. 

To ensure this resource is relevant, valuable and stays up to date, we would like to learn about your experiences. 

How are you coping with the coronavirus crisis?

Media professionals all around the world are struggling with the impact of the crisis, but also developing responses that others can learn from. 
We would like to hear from you! 

  • What are you struggling with in your daily work?
  • How are you responding to the crisis?
  • What kinds of information and stories are particularly important to you and your audience at the moment?
  • What additional resources do you need to respond?   

Please share your experiences and stories with us by emailing

Medical information and statistics

Ukraine Journalisten Schutzmasken

A Journalist in Ukraine wears disposable latex gloves

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information about COVID-19 in six languages on its website. This includes data, text, images and videos. The website also contains information about rumors that are spreading online. WHO has also developed a WhatsApp bot that can provide basic information and statistics. Just send “hi” to +41 22 501 75 96 on WhatsApp to get started. The bot is currently only available in English.

How to fight rumours and misinformation

Rumours and misinformation can be deadly in an epidemic. But it can be difficult to know what is true and what is false. Consider these resources, in addition to theinformation from WHO mentioned above: 

  • The non-profit First Draft has compiled five easy tips that can help journalists identify misinformation about COVID-19. 
  • TheCorona Virus Fact Checking Alliance has already checked more than 1,500 pieces of information from 60 countries in 15 languages. These are mainly news reports that aren’t true or misleading. Check here, if you find a piece of information that you don’t trust. They also publish weekly reports. The database is still being developed and improved.
  • Philippines-based Verafiles shows in three videos how their team is fact-checking information about COVID-19.

Discuss COVID-19 with other journalists and health professionals

The International Centre for Journalists and the International Journalists’ Network have created a Facebook group where media professionals can exchange experiences, ideas and ask questions. The group also organizes video calls with health professionals and other experts.

How to organize your work during the coronavirus crisis

Most forms of journalism involve meeting people in person and seeing things with your own eyes. Widespread lockdowns make that more difficult. In addition, cramped newsrooms and equipment and desks that are shared by multiple staff members can be a health concern. Here are some tips on how you can organize your work and stay safe:

Emergency funds for media professionals covering COVID-19

Free Press Unlimited has two funds through which media professionals can ask for financial assistance: 

  • The legal defense fund can help pay for legal aid when journalists are detained or facing legal issues due to their reporting on COVID-19. 
  • Reporters Respond is a fund which can help media professionals who suffering financially because of their work, for example if they have gotten ill on the job. FPU emphasizes that both funds may be able to help media professionals during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Thinking about your organization’s financial survival

Bangladesh Journalist mit Schutzmasken

A journalist with face mask works amid coronavirus outbreak in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Advertising revenues are collapsing around the world, threatening jobs and even the financial survival of some media outlets. The Media Development Investment Fund has published some ideas on how to minimize the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on your media business (in four languages).

COVID-19 Resources for the Radio

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has published a radio show guide and running order for a 60-minutes programme on COVID-19. The guide is available in English (pdf) and French (pdf).
Farm Radio International has concrete tips on how to plan and produce radio programs for rural communities in emergencies. The guide is not specific to COVID-19.

How other media outlets are covering COVID-19

Below are some examples of how journalists in other parts of the world are covering COVID-19. 

How are you covering COVID-19? What have you learned? What are you struggling with? Please share your experiences and stories with us by emailing

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