The readers editor of The Hindu, an English-language daily newspaper based in India, addressed the newspaper’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. A.S. Panneerselvan wrote March 16: “How can journalists arrive at a tone and tenor in reporting the health crisis that neither creates unwarranted panic nor underplays the gravity of the situation?”
So far, he argued that The Hindu‘s coverage the past three weeks has been fair. “In my opinion, the language used in explainers and reports seems to work well in informing readers without generating anxiety,” Panneerselvan wrote.
He pointed to the World Health Organization and First Draft’s guidance for reporting on COVID-19, highlighting the need to avoid “Sensationalist language” like “no end in sight” and “turmoil.”
Panneerselvan also called for “feedback on what aspects of its reports worked, what aspects need improvement, and where the paper failed to meet the journalistic standard.”
Responding to an inquiry from iMediaEthics, Panneerselvan wrote, “It received good feedback from both the scientific community and from journalists who are covering the pandemic. My column was used as the baseline for an e-book which our editorial team produced to help readers understand the pandemic.”
That 22-page ebook includes information about what coronavirus is, how it spreads, and how to protect against it. The ebook also provides guidance about myths, explaining that pneumonia vaccines and garlic don’t protect against coronavirus and that coronavirus can be transmitted in hot weather. The ebook was published on The Hindu‘s website.