Ensure accuracy when reporting on COVID-19

On May 5, the World Health Organization ended the emergency status for COVID-19 and the United States COVID-19 health emergency will end on Thursday. While navigating this “post-pandemic” era, it is important to continue to take care in reporting on COVID-19. Ensure you are using clear language when explaining these updates. Ending the emergency status does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global threat. Continue to follow the SPJ Code of Ethics to seek the truth and report it, including providing context and avoiding stereotypes. The New York Post recently tweeted an unrelated photo of masked Beijing residents when referring to a new COVID-19 variant that can cause pink eye. The Asian American Journalists Association responded to this tweet, reminding journalists of their guidance on COVID-19 coverage. As the SPJ Code of Ethics states, it is important to minimize harm and “never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information.” AAJA also notes that using an unrelated photo can perpetuate stereotypes and fuel xenophobia. The Code also states that “ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.”

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