Facing the ‘infodemic:’ Journalists and experts to discuss at ISOJ how the news media covering COVID-19 can fight mis/disinformation

Misinformation surrounding COVID-19, apart from the virus itself, has caused an additional threat to individuals globally. The spread of false information has caused such a disturbance in minimizing the spread of COVID-19, that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the issue an ‘infodemic’ to describe the impact. 

A group of five outstanding researchers and journalists will come together at the 22nd International Symposium of Online Journalism to discuss the impact of misinformation on the pandemic, and the ways in which journalists can help combat the ‘infodemic.’

The panel will be on the second day of ISOJ Online, Tuesday, April 27, at 1 p.m. U.S. Central Time (-5:00 UTC). Use this or any other time zone converter to find out the equivalent time in your region. But first, visit ISOJ’s website for more details, including the full program, and register here for ISOJ.

Ready to share her expertise and vast array of knowledge as chair of this panel is Maryn McKenna, an independent journalist and author, specializing in public health, global health, and food policy. She is a Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University, where she teaches health and science writing and storytelling, and media literacy. 

McKenna taught a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for the Knight Center last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, to help journalists cover it. Over 9,000 students from 162 countries registered for the course, which is now available in the self-directed modality in seven languages. And registration is now open for a new MOOC led by McKenna, this time focused on COVID-19 vaccines.

Joining Maryn McKenna in this discussion:

  • Brandy Zadrozny is an award-winning reporter for NBC News where she covers misinformation, extremism, and the internet. She’s written definitive stories on the QAnon conspiracy, Trump propaganda outlet The Epoch Times, and the profiteers behind the rising anti-vaccination movement and coronavirus misinformation online. Previously, she was at The Daily Beast where she covered politics and the internet as a senior reporter.
  • Jessica Malaty Rivera is currently the Science Communication Lead for The COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. She is also a member of the COVID-19 Dispersed Volunteer Research Network and an expert contributor for NBC Bay Area and CNN. As an infectious disease epidemiologist and science communicator, Jessica has dedicated the last 15 years of her career to infectious disease research, public health policy, and vaccine advocacy.
  • Dr. Joan Donovan is the Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Dr. Donovan leads the field in examining internet and technology studies, online extremism, media manipulation, and disinformation campaigns. Dr. Donovan leads The Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC), which conducts research, develops methods, and facilitates workshops for journalists, policy makers, technologists, and civil society organizations on how to detect, document, and debunk media manipulation campaigns.
  • Heidi Larson is Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science and is the Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is also Clinical Professor of Health Metrics Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, and Guest Professor at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. She previously headed Global Immunisation Communication at UNICEF, chaired GAVI’s Advocacy Task Force, and served on the WHO SAGE Working Group on vaccine hesitancy.

Don’t forget to register for the Knight Center’s International Symposium on Online Journalism to join this conversation. Register now: https://isoj2021.splashthat.com/w