ICFJ’s Global Health Crisis Reporting Forum has brought together almost 13,000 journalism professionals with experts -- the world’s top health practitioners, policymakers, and trainers -- who provide them with the skills and information to deliver responsible COVID-19 coverage in five languages: Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.This initiative connected colleagues across borders to share information to better report on the pandemic’s local impacts.
The Forum has created a community eager to help one another combat dis/misinformation, access data, and provide advice on everything from safety precautions to audience engagement.
In 2021, the Forum was honored by the Online News Association with the ONA Community Award for the service it provided global reporters during the pandemic.
The Forum has become the world’s most comprehensive effort to help journalists cover the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve had tremendous impact:
- Served almost 13,000 journalists in 134 countries.
- Organized more than 260 webinars and trainings that have attracted participants from at least 130 countries.
- Produced nearly 1,200 COVID-19 related resources in eight languages attracting almost half a million views on ICFJ’s International Journalists Network (IJNet), the go-to multilingual professional resource for journalists around the world.
- Awarded more than 50 journalists from around the world story contest prizes, across all five languages of our fora in a COVID-19 Reporting Contest.
As of 2021, we have expanded our offerings beyond medical experts to include issues related to the epidemic, including misinformation, economic issues, education and the impacts on marginalized communities. As the pandemic wore on, we began including more training for journalists on practical skills such as health reporting, data journalism, investigative reporting, and more.
Importantly, to counter misinformation we have brought on experts to help reporters cover the COVID-19 vaccine. New webinars have included Harvard School of Medicine’s Dr. Galit Alter to explain how the different vaccines work and Lorenz von Seidlein, Associate Professor at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) to discuss grey areas concerning the vaccines and their responses to COVID-19 variants. We’ve also brought on Dr. Rifat Atun, Professor of Global Health Systems at Harvard University and brought back Dr. Claire Standley, Assistant Research Professor at the Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security to discuss challenges to global vaccine distribution.
IJNet has supplemented Forum programming by publishing practical, timely resources to support the critical reporting journalists are carrying out during the pandemic. These include recaps of Forum webinars with key quotes and takeaways, in addition to articles that highlight efforts to combat misinformation about the virus, provide advice for reporting on vaccination campaigns, and offer tips for covering sensitive issues such as human rights violations during the pandemic.
The Forum demonstrates the power of ICFJ’s active network to catalyze better-informed reporting.
Testimonials from Our Forum Members
"[Harvard Medical School’s] Dr. Alter's presentation was very informative and helpful for me to understand what is currently happening with vaccines around the world. Sometimes the information from news outlets is too overwhelming, so her presentation was very easy to understand."
“[Thanks for the Forum] now I have a global context that helps me compare local Covid policies. I also have a broader picture of how other countries are dealing with [the] pandemic.”
"I have been taught how to be proactive and safety-conscious for myself, my colleagues and family members when covering COVID-19 as well as the importance of using safety equipment for protection."