18 COVID-19 media literacy resources for journalists and educators

by | Mar 25, 2020 | Blog

Facebook groups and Twitter threads. Slack channels and text services. Information, and disinformation, about COVID-19 is overwhelming. We wanted to help you — journalists, teachers and the everyday person — sort through the countless tools available to amplify credible, accurate and trustworthy resources.


Help your readers better understand and prepare for the pandemic in real time with these tools.

1. CrowdTangle: COVID-19 Dashboard
CrowdTangle’s new COVID-19 dashboard provides newsrooms with tools for tracking updates about the virus and their engagement rates. Using audience data is a great way to create content your readers are actively searching for. 

2. First Draft News: Resources For Reporters
First Draft developed this set of guidelines to help journalists spot and report on misinformation. The collection includes a resource toolbox for fact-checking coronavirus information, a list of trusted official news sources, a database of debunks and a journalist-specific FAQ.

3. Hearken: Consultation Services
Hearken is offering consulting and technology services to help newsrooms practice its people-powered journalism related to COVID-19. The emergency engagement services include a free presentation download, and discounted consulting and software opportunities.

4. IJNet: Coronavirus Guides
IJNet has created guides to covering the pandemic on non-science beats, using solutions-focused journalism and audience engagement regarding COVID-19. The piece, “Past health crises can inform reporting on COVID-19,” offers keen insight from Thomas Abraham, a former journalist who currently researches “the role of the media in communicating risk and infectious diseases.” 

5. International Fact-Checking Network: The #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance
More than 100 fact-checkers around the globe have committed to tackling misinformation about COVID-19. Head to the database, with more than 1,000 fact-checks, see the verifications on Twitter, or check out the CoronaVirus Fact-Checking Grant Program.


These easy-to-implement media literacy resources can help support students and spur remote classroom discussions about coronavirus.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Talking with Children About COVID-19
CDC’s guide for talking about COVID-19 with kids is useful for educators, school staff and people who simply want direct and easy-to-share information. Additionally, this guide offers succinct information on COVID-19 anxiety relief for parents, educators and affected individuals. 

2. PBS NewsHour: Coronavirus Student Guide
PBS NewsHour’s daily lessons include a media literacy component. This one asks students to compare how science-based sources are different from other news sources.

3. News Literacy Project: COVID-19 Dashboard
The News Literacy Project’s premium product is now free for educators to use. Additionally, the organization is conducting a regular “Rumor Review” to debunk the latest claims about the virus.

4. Mike Caulfield: Sifting Through the Pandemic
This infodemic blog (from our friend Mike Caulfield) includes gifs about how to assess credibility of sources and verify claims. Teachers can use it to share easy, approachable tips for spotting misinformation related to COVID-19. 

5. World Health Organization: Coronavirus Myth Busters
These graphics address common myths and the facts that refute them. While a great idea, we suggest only sharing the graphics that highlight the fact. Studies show prominently repeating the myth leads to people remembering the myth more often than the correction.

Credible sources

We trust these sources for continuous updates and reliable information as the situation unfolds.

1. Bing: COVID-19 Dashboard
Bing’s dashboard pairs a map and tracker with up-to-date national and local news about the pandemic.

2. Solutions Journalism Network: Solutions Story Tracker
This tracker from the Solutions Journalism Network takes solutions-oriented stories from multiple reliable outlets and puts them into one, easy-to-find collection. Browse 40 (and counting) stories, including podcasts, text, multi-media and radio pieces.

3. BuzzFeed News: Subtext Network
Get COVID-19 updates from BuzzFeed News texted directly to your phone as they break. The service also includes the option to chat with editors in real time. 

4. ScienceNews: Coronavirus FAQ
In addition to its ongoing coverage of COVID-19, ScienceNews has put together a detailed FAQ to answer pressing questions. The FAQ includes the Johns Hopkins University map of total confirmed cases.

5. The New York Times: The Coronavirus Outbreak FAQ
This coronavirus FAQ covers everything from information about the virus itself to its economic and social ramifications. Additionally, the New York Times has made all coverage related to COVID-19 free to view. 


Bonus: Hyperlocal coverage

Look to these three examples of clear and concise coronavirus updates that speak directly to your community’s information needs.  

1. The Arizona Republic: Coronavirus Coverage
The Arizona Republic is keeping its community up to date as the pandemic grows — with everything from breaking news updates to this database of more than 170 nonprofits that can help Arizonans. We appreciate this text service, where readers receive two texts a day from the Republic’s Director of Audience Innovation, Kim Bui.

2. Bloomfield Information Project: Coronavirus Information Center
Bloomfield, New Jersey, residents can turn here for a curation of critical neighborhood information. The site features the current status of waste pickup, senior shuttles, hospitals, libraries and much more. Then dive deeper into the township’s case numbers, testing sites and recent news. The project is part of the Community Info Coop.

3. Spaceship Local: COVID-19 in Douglas
In this Spaceship Media initiative, reporters have aggregated in-depth, up-to-date information about the virus into a community “FactStack.” This one in particular addresses Douglas, Arizona — including city closures, important phone numbers and supply limits at local stores. The FactStack also has critical information about who is allowed to cross the border and Mexico’s case count.