• Course Code:  JN21.1E

  • Term:  Self paced

  • Open for Enrollment

  • Self-paced

  • Course Author(s)
    Naomi Goldsmith
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Covering COVID-19 - Content Creation

Self paced

  • Circles
    Thomson Foundation


Please contact journalismnow@thomsonfoundation.org if you are having difficulties enrolling into this course

This course was created in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), The Ethical Journalism Network, Dart Centre Europe and Free Press Unlimited (FPU).

This course is designed to help journalists navigate the ethical and practical challenges needed to cover pandemics and epidemics looking specifically at the Covid-19 outbreak. It draws on the experience of those who are covering it now and on the experiences of those who have covered previous outbreaks. Interrogation of the science and data surrounding such pandemics is an important part of the course, and the aim is to draw on expert science and health reporters for this aspect. The course also addresses key elements such as use of language, and terminology which avoids stigmatisation and discrimination. Verification and Safety are covered in detail in two separate courses available on Journalism Now.



  • To know the vital role which you as journalists and the media can play during a pandemic
  • To be able to identify which sources you can trust
  • To have an overview of Covid-19
  • To know how to use language and referencing to avoid stigmatisation and stereotyping
  • To be able to create ethical and balanced content related to the coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic and other outbreaks.
  • To be able to create relevant multimedia content related to pandemics and other outbreaks.

NAOMI GOLDSMITH, your course instructor has been training and supporting journalists in some of the most challenging environments in the world, such as Afghanistan, Libya and South Sudan. She has previously reported, presented and produced for the BBC.

Joining Naomi is a strong team of media experts:


ALOK JHA, Science Correspondent for The Economist.

JANE HUGHES, Director of Communications and Public Engagement Francis Crick Institute and former BBC Health Correspondent.

WAAD AL-KATEAB, Oscar nominated documentary filmmaker and journalist Channel 4

AZIZ RASHID, Aziz has held senior editorial and managerial roles at BBC World, BBC Network News and English Regions.

HANNAH STORM, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ethical Journalism Network.

PAMELA MORINIÈRE, Head of Campaign and Communication and Gender Officer, International Federation of Journalists

DR ZAHERA HARB, Senior lecturer, City, University of London.

GAVIN REES, Dart Centre Europe.


  • Section 1 introduces you to the course trainer and the media experts who will guide you through the challenges of covering a pandemic.
  • Section 2 considers what role you as journalists and the media should play when covering a pandemic.
  • Section 3 guides you to the sources you can trust so you can provide reliable information for your audience.
  • Section 4 helps you to distinguish science from science fiction. There are so many myths surrounding pandemics and epidemics. How do you know who and what to trust?
  • Section 5 explores how local culture and beliefs can affect your efforts to inform your audiences.
  • Section 6 offers advice on making science easy to understand.
  • Section 7 looks at the pandemic through a gender lens. Why women can disproportionately be affected in a pandemic.
  • Section 8 identifies how to avoid bias and stigmatisation.
  • Section 9 puts covering a pandemic into perspective. How do you convey a sense of urgency without engendering panic and anxiety?
  • Section 10  summarises the course and considers what percentage of your coverage should be dominated by stories and information about the pandemic.

You can complete this course within 4 hours across multiple sessions

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Covering COVID-19 - Content Creation


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