Journalism Resources

COVID-19: the changing science

In WFSJ Briefing—our collection of SARS-CoV2 science, ideas and analysis—we have published a link to a page of retractions of SARS-CoV2 science from the useful online resource Retraction Watch. Today, we publish a letter calling for the retraction of a much-shared paper on asymptomatic transmission.

It’s really worth keeping an eye on the status of the science as it evolves. We have never seen such a flood of science (both preprints and research that has been through the peer-review and editing process), and things are shifting and evolving in real time. It’s wonderful to see things moving so fast and to see clinicians and researchers talking to each other and throwing ideas around in the quest to find interdisciplinary answers and solutions.

But at the same time, for journalists, it’s a bit nerve-wracking. Something that looks like a truly juicy finding just begging for a headline can become an embarrassment tomorrow – one of those stories that make you wince when you are reminded of it.

All too often the haste to publish, to get the clicks, leads to irresponsible reporting. We hope that our readers will remember to report with caution and care, with qualifications and with thoughtful commentary that shares what could be useful info but makes clear that it may not be the be-all and end-all in the field.

Tread carefully, be thoughtful and remember the awesome responsibility you bear. As we say in South Africa, hamba kahle: go well.

Please let us know about any good articles you find or have written chasing down facts about fake news – or any particularly interesting research or analysis of science that you might like to share with science journalists across the world. Send links to covid19editor@wfsj-briefing.org – we’d like to share the best coverage and analysis with our readership.

This page is organised so that you can find information on different topics (from the drop-down COVID-19 menu at the top of the page), and then see that information separated into different types (see the tabs in the articles list, left).

If you would like to do a more advanced search of the content, start by putting a term in the search box. This will take you to our search page, which allows you to search by keyword, date, topic, type of information, and (where applicable) location.

We put up this site very quickly (it was eight days from the idea being originally mooted to the site going live) because we saw an urgent need and wanted to help. This means the site is far from perfect as it stands. Rest assured that we will be actively working to improve it.

… and, if you’d like to help:

  • If you cover this subject and would like to regularly contribute links to the site, or would like to contribute tips about best (and worst) practice in writing about this subject, contact: covid19editor@wfsj-briefing.org.
  • If you have a few links you’d like to contribute but do not want to do so on a regular basis, just send the links to: covid19@wfsj-briefing.org.
  • If you think the interface could be easier to use, we are missing out important areas of content, or would like to suggest other changes (or if you think there is another looming crisis we should create a briefing for), please contact: editorialdirector@wfsj-briefing.org.
  • Finally, if you have any day-to-day issues, notice mislabelled or bad material, or see any technical glitches, please contact: editorial@wfsj-briefing.org.

COVID-truthers have a science problem. They don’t need more politicians or activists arguing against lockdowns or debating the efficacy of masks. They need scientists – qualified people with proven track records and fancy degrees. Even if these scientists retread the...

Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on health systems and economies around the world. This is particularly true for developing and newly industrialized countries that often have to deal with poverty and inadequate health systems. A greater...

Abstract In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, journalists have the challenging task of gathering and distributing accurate information. Journalists exist as a part of an ecology in which their work influences and is influenced by the environment that surrounds...

How to Spot COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories
29th June 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

The COVID-19 pandemic is a fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theories. When people suffer a loss of control or feel threatened, they become more vulnerable to believing conspiracies. For example, the Black Death in the 14th century inspired anti-Semitic hysteria...

The CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance Database
24th June 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

Here is the database that gathers all of the falsehoods that have been detected by the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus alliance. This database unites fact-checkers in more than 70 countries and includes articles published in at least 40 languages. Para búsquedas en español,...

Good News and Bad News about COVID-19 Misinformation
10th June 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

Recently, a video called “Plandemic” went viral on social media. PolitiFact flagged eight fake or misleading claims it made about COVID-19. YouTube and Facebook removed the video; Twitter issued “unsafe” warnings and blocked relevant hashtags. All of the platforms couched...

How You Should Read Coronavirus Studies, or Any Science Paper
1st June 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

A lot of people are reading scientific papers for the first time these days, hoping to make sense of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re one of them, be advised the scientific paper is a peculiar literary genre that can take...

Health Policy Watch: COVID-19
9th April 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

Health Policy Watch is a digital platform for independent reporting on top global health policy debates, trends, and research. To access Health Policy Watch’s open-access, daily news service, please sign up here for email alerts or follow us on twitter...

Statnews: Coronavirus resources
1st April 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

Read all of our coverage of the virus that has spread around the world. Sign up for our Morning Rounds and Daily Recap newsletters to get an update each weekday. Follow us on Twitter at @statnews. And please consider a...

COVID-19 resources for reporters
25th March 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

Science-based resources for journalists covering COVID-19, including downloadable video, quotes from experts, and an infographic on cases and deaths by county and state you can easily embed on your site. To help reporters cover the pandemic, SciLine… hosts online Media...

Coronavirus and your wellbeing
17th March 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

You might be worried about coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people. This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots...

Advice for the public: Myth busters
13th March 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if...

Info for the public on COVID-19
13th March 2020, Curated by Mandi Smallhorne

On this website you can find information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. Please visit this page for daily updates.