WFSJ Briefing Guidelines – COVID-19

The content for WFSJ Briefing is intended to provide:

  1. Basic information for those (such as generalist reporters) who have yet to familiarise themselves with SARS-CoV2 (origins, transmission, definitions and more).
  2. Science which supports and enhances understanding of the virus and the pandemic and can be used to underpin stories, around issues ranging from transmission to public health policy.
  3. Early science, press releases from science-based and reliable sources, and articles which raise issues which might trigger ideas for journalists to follow up on, in search of good and thought-provoking articles.
  4. News, analysis and articles about trending issues under discussion (for example, the haemoglobin issue which arose in early April; public health policy and its impacts; and the like).
  5. Articles and fact-checking around fake news.

We are publishing preprints and some thinkpieces, as journalists need to keep abreast of what is being discussed in the field as concepts and clinical experiences, as ideas and possibilities. Our experience was that preprints or early prints were clearly labelled as such. However, having recently seen one preprint published in a form that did NOT have such a disclaimer, we decided to include a clear notice on the landing page alerting users to the fact that some of the papers published on the briefing are preprints, and to label each individual paper as such.

This project, like so much else around this virus, was conceived and executed very quickly, so we are now in the process of refining and tweaking it. We will be communicating regularly with users via the landing page from now on.

We welcome all input and any suggestions to improve WFSJ Briefing.

Mandi Smallhorne

Writing about COVID-19

As well as building up a resource of information and analysis on COVID-19, we want to ensure that we pass on any tips about what can go wrong when writing about this subject: and how to get it right! If you have experience in writing about this area and feel you have advice that would help others, please contact us at:

We’d also like to hear from you at that address if you would like to regularly contribute links to the site. If you just want to suggest links on an occasional basis, please send them to: