One-stop fact checking
on the coronavirus

March 27, 2020

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A pandemic that is all anyone posts about on social media and all we see on TV and in the newspaper generates all sorts of half-considered, deceptive, and even purposely false “news.” But we CAN track down the “best attainable version of the truth,” and www.snopes.com is a great resource we should all bookmark.

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Check out this post that pulls together all the fact checking Snopes has been doing on COVID-19, and even categorizes their findings by topic.

We need to practice media literacy, not just moan about how often our friends and families and community don’t seem to understand. This is where it starts.

Did you know that the federal government shares a huge library of images and art, all produced at public expense and available free to anyone? Here is the link to the CDC image library. Just be sure to properly cite your sources, a good practice for journalists as well as for research papers, feasibility reports, etc.

Here is a useful 10-minute video to share with everyone on your staff about use of the Creative Commons and how JEA member Mike Simons teaches his students to properly cite attributions for online, including a modest modification for print-only (yearbook, etc.) He highlights the CDC repository, how to find CC-licensed COVID-19 and “other” CC images on Flickr, and how to cite them.

And how about one more indispensible resource? Whether you are wrapping up national coverage this year and wanting to include photos of presidential candidates, or just want to prep for next fall, when the election really heats up, there is an ongoing NSPA Campaign 2020 photo exchange, The images have been taken by student journalists from across the nation and all come with permission to publish. Just be sure to properly cite your images. Directions are on the site.