Coronavirus, the ‘implied truth’ effect, and Hungarian state media censorship

Our personal weekly selection about journalism and innovation.

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Edited by Marco Nurra

The 2020 International Journalism Festival #ijf20 has been cancelled

Coronavirus fears lead to another journalism conference cancellation, this time in Perugia. Splice and IJF aren’t the only journalism-related conferences to face cancellation. The Google News Initiative’s Global Summit, scheduled for California in late April, won’t happen. Facebook’s annual F8 conference, which usually features a number of news-related announcements and was scheduled for next week, is out too.

CNN, NYT, Condé, WSJ, and other media giants implement coronavirus restrictions. Major U.S. newsrooms are scaling back travel and asking journalists to take precautions in the wake of the spread of coronavirus.

Covering a pandemic flu. Back in 2009, the Nieman Foundation published this online guide. Many of the tips are still relevant today for those reporting on the coronaravirus.

AP Stylebook tips on the coronavirus. Reporters in several states are now covering COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. To help you keep up with the changing story, Poynter pulled together a few style tips from the Associated Press Stylebook’s Twitter account.

5 quick ways we can all double-check coronavirus information online. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called it an “infodemic” as misleading or incorrect information is spreading faster than the virus. Whether it’s quack doctors pushing fake ‘cures’, conspiracy theories used to undermine opposition governmentshoax “symptoms” or funny memes, they create an environment that makes it hard to trust what we find online and add to the global panic and anxiety around the problem.

Chinese social media censoring ‘officially sanctioned facts’ on coronavirus. Chinese social media censors blocked neutral information about the coronavirus outbreak when they targeted references to the outbreak on WeChat and other platforms, a report has found. Hundreds of keywords and keyword combinations, including “Wuhan seafood market” and “Sars variation” were censored in late December, as doctors sought to warn about the new virus.

Twitter plans misinfo labels, but are they a good idea? One problem with the kind of misinformation flags Twitter is proposing is they could backfire and make the misinfo even more prominent, and therefore increase sharing. The other problem is what is called the “implied truth” effect. In a nutshell, some research has found that when certain specific pieces of information are labeled as false, users assume that all the other information that appears on a service has also been fact-checked and verified as true, which of course is rarely the case.

Human rights and Greta on Hungarian state media watch list. Hungarian state media bosses told staff they need permission to report on Greta Thunberg and EU politics, and banned coverage of reports from leading human rights organizations, according to internal emails obtained by POLITICO. Hungarian journalists have long raised concerns that some politically sensitive issues are absent from the news coverage of state-owned television channels.

Kadir van Lohuizen reports on the climate crisis with the same techniques he brought to his work as a war correspondent. His photography, video, and written work focus on the point of conflict between the crisis and human life. This week, Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of CJR, speaks with van Lohuizen about what kind of climate disaster coverage inspires real action.

How engagement reporting is helping ProPublica journalists find their next big story. Now, as ProPublica approaches its teen years, their engagement team is revamping to help their reporters better find — and comprehensively report — investigative stories with an impact.

The Harvey Weinstein story gave the phrase “She Said” a new meaning: a chance to be heard. Read the transcript of Rebecca Corbett’s Reuters Memorial Lecture.

In his first media column for The New York Times, Ben Smith says journalism’s problem might be The New York Times. “The New York Times is going to basically be a monopoly” vs. “What I actually think you’re seeing is not a winner-take-all dynamic — what you’re actually seeing is a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats dynamism.”