World Editors Forum to host digital summit to boost health reporting skills

The online event is designed to help newsrooms draw lessons from existing Covid-19 coverage and build competencies in better evidence-based storytelling. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - With coronavirus infections continuing to surge and vaccines still to be released, the need for accurate health reporting and evidence-based journalism around Covid-19 is becoming increasingly important.

To better prepare newsrooms for future health-related crises or large-scale science emergencies, the World Editors Forum - Wan-Ifra's network for editors - will be hosting the Science in the Newsroom Global eSummit 2020.

The online event, titled Journalism in the Age of the Pandemic, is designed to help newsrooms draw lessons from existing Covid-19 coverage and build competencies in better evidence-based storytelling.

To be held from Nov 23 to 24, the inaugural summit will feature speakers such as Dr Sylvie Briand, Director of the Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness department, Alyssa Zeizler, Wall Street Journal's Research & Development Chief and Product Lead for Newsroom Tools, David Walmsley, Editor-in-Chief at The Globe and Mail, and The Straits Times' Senior Health Correspondent Salma Khalik.

It will showcase four 90-minute sessions which will cover topics such as addressing future pandemics, countering misinformation and boosting newsroom expertise despite shrinking budgets.

Award-winning journalist Shirish Kulkarni will also share his research on the building blocks for good storytelling, and the tools journalists can use to deliver memorable journalism.

The summit is part of a new Science In The Newsroom programme, held by Wan-Ifra and supported by Temasek Foundation, consisting of high-impact workshop training and sharing of best newsroom practices.

It seeks to bridge gaps in specialist health and science reporting skills, teach journalists how to better address misinformation around complex issues and build greater public trust in newsrooms.

Its first run, held in August and September 2020, attracted close to 90 journalists, from Africa, South Asia and Asia-Pacific.

Following the eSummit, the programme will also produce a journalism handbook as a reference to share with newsrooms worldwide, containing key learnings, action points and resources.

ST editor Warren Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English, Malay and Tamil Media Group and President of the World Editors Forum, said that newsrooms are seeing a spike in readership, as people look for reliable and authoritative writers they can trust.

"To build that trust, we need to have the expertise on the subject, and the skills and ability to communicate the complexity of the medical and scientific issues in ways that people can understand and relate to.

"This summit, as well as the training, is designed to do that," he said.

Participation in the eSummit is free and sessions will be held at 3pm and 8pm (Singapore time) on Nov 23 and 24.

To register please click here.

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