The Thomson Reuters Foundation – the corporate foundation of the news and information services company – announced on 6th April 2020 the launch of a virtual training, knowledge-sharing and network-building hub for journalists covering the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hub – initially bringing together reporters from English-speaking African nations – will focus on facilitating access to accurate and trusted information through a series of online seminars and working sessions, as well as scaling professional journalism expertise through training and mentoring courses.
Journalists will be equipped with the core skills and information they need to report on the global pandemic and connected with key experts and other reporters who have been covering the crisis in the countries where COVID-19 has already hit hard.
The initiative will comprise three main components; live training sessions for core skills: crisis reporting, health reporting, economics reporting, fact-checking, data analysis and data visualisation; connecting the cohort with key health experts; and connecting journalists to their counterparts in countries where the crisis is most prevalent to share professional learnings.
The scheme will launch first as an African cohort and ensure reporters are equipped to understand the magnitude of the challenge COVID-19 poses to the health of citizens, as well as to the economy and society at large.
In collaboration with the World Economic Forum, the Crisis Reporting Hub will also connect with the organisations at the heart of the emergency response, including the World Health Organization, the African Centre for Disease Controls, and other experts. To this end, the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform will set up media briefings and live sessions for the Crisis Reporting Hub and provide the journalists with access to its platform.
Addressing the urgent need to coordinate an approach to accurate information sharing during this crisis, the initiative will scale creditable and informative reporting that keeps pace with the latest policies, guidelines and critical learnings unfolding daily. The aim is to also clamp down on the spread of misinformation during a time of unprecedented global reliance on social media.
Antonio Zappulla, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said: “All corners of the world are being decimated by this crisis. We do not stand a chance of fighting it if accurate information-sharing remains our ‘Achilles’ heel’. Scaling world-class, reliable and independent reporting has never been more vital. The stability of our nations depends upon it. Millions of lives depend upon it.
“The Thomson Reuters Foundation is uniquely placed to lead this effort. We have extensive expertise in delivering global media development interventions. We have an established network of media professionals, policy experts and journalist alumni. Our experience of working alongside global partners gives us unparalleled reach and places us at the centre of international expertise. Now is the time to lead the way on efforts to report on this pandemic responsibly and effectively.”
Adrian Monck, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, said: “Nothing in the world today is more important than our common fight against COVID-19, and that fight starts with spreading accurate and up-to-date information and insights. We’re honoured to support the Coronavirus Crisis Reporting Hub, and its first cohort of journalists from across Africa. Their societies can still prevent a dramatic outbreak, and their journalism is at the core of that effort.”
The Reporting Hub will focus on facilitating access to trusted information and professional capacity building by offering the following:
- Virtual classes on analysing the pandemic through different lenses and its impact on sectors
- Online seminars on core journalism skills
- Training and mentoring
- Live briefings with key health experts
- Live briefings with journalists at the frontline of the crisis
- Live collaborative working sessions