It goes without saying that we are in unprecedented times. Navigating COVID coverage is a new experience for all of us in news and the need for quality journalism is great.
In a recently published article from RTDNA titled Do’s and Don’ts of COVID vaccine coverage, experts offer their advice on how to get the best COVID vaccine coverage.
The article does a great job of laying out the topics journalists should avoid when covering COVID. It also talks about what news coverage viewers could use more of.
One addition I would make to the article is for those on the TV side. When vaccines first became readily available, we were quick to jump in and get up-close footage of people receiving their shots. However, through a multitude of comments from viewers, we have learned a large part of our audience is extremely squeamish when it comes to needles. Now you will be hard-pressed to find video of a needle penetrating an arm in our broadcasts. It is an effort our audience has much appreciated.
As the article said, it is our duty as journalists not to undermine public health efforts. As people decide whether to get the vaccine, if they already fear needles, video showing them is likely to sway them away from getting vaccinated.
WQOW-TV, Eau Claire