The playbook for journalists to combat COVID-19 vaccine misinformation

Consult these go-to resources and public health experts, curated through ONA Community Circles

By on March 31, 2021

We are pleased to introduce the COVID-19 Misinformation Playbook — a collection of tip sheets, expert source lists, explainers and other resources for digital journalists reporting on the COVID-19 vaccine.

The playbook is the work of journalists and editors who convened through an ONA Community Circle focused on addressing the challenges to reporting on public health crises. Community Circles are virtual discussion and project groups that connect and mobilize ONA members to tackle a journalism topic of shared interest. ONA connects peers who are working on the same problems, and provides trained hosts to lead discussion and collaboration towards a shared resource.

Fergus Bell, Fathm CEO and ONA Board member, and Smitha Khorana, former Newsroom Outreach Lead at Data & Society, facilitated the group’s discussions and collaboration. Journalists and editors from around the world talked through common issues in their efforts to provide accurate and relevant information to their communities. They are navigating an abundance of public health misinformation, while often lacking the individual expertise in complex public health and medical issues. Many also described infrastructural challenges in a digital environment where algorithms de-prioritize journalists’ work while incentivizing the amplification of incorrect information and conspiracy theories. As a result, even their best and most timely reporting do not always reach their audience. With these challenges in mind, the group collected and curated resources they’ve found helpful to share with the broader community of journalists covering the COVID-19 vaccines and public health crises.

Explore the COVID-19 Misinformation Playbook

Get involved

The group will continue to add to the playbook in the next few weeks. We invite you to submit your go-to resources and experts for consideration, including for journalists serving specific communities that might be under- or misrepresented in news — for example, experts on rural distribution, resources on covering the vaccine in multiple languages or guidance related to specific racial or ethnic communities.

The deadline to contribute is April 9, 2021.


Project Facilitators

Project Team Members

Aashka Dave
Allison Collins
Douglas Fischer
Hugo Williams
Jennifer Welsh
Kristen Watson
Lara Salahi
Marisha Goldhamer
Sarah Emler
Tracy Maher

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