My tips for covering Long COVID (using data, records, and patient interviews)

Cover slide from my workshop at NICAR this weekend.

On Friday, I led a workshop at NICAR about covering Long COVID. NICAR is a data journalism conference—the acronym stands for National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, which is an old-school term for data journalism—so my session focused on data sources, along with suggestions for public records requests and for interviewing long-haulers.

My main goal for the workshop was to introduce Long COVID as a worthwhile coverage topic for journalists who aren’t already on the science or health beat. Plenty of science/health reporters (like myself) have written great articles about biomedical research, patient experiences, and other similar topics. But there are many other facets of Long COVID, ranging from its impact on work to the public agencies that should be held accountable for failing to address this crisis.

To that end, I spent part of the session talking about excellent Long COVID articles that don’t focus on science/health topics. I also gave attendees a prompt to brainstorm story ideas for their beats or coverage areas. This led to some interesting conversations about potential local stories on Long COVID clinics, Household Pulse Survey data, tracking disability applications, and more.

If you’re curious to see more of what I shared from the session: here’s a link to the tipsheet I compiled, and here’s a link to my slides.

Also: as I’ve mentioned previously, I am currently leading a project at MuckRock (where I work part-time) to investigate U.S. government responses to Long COVID. For any journalists who may be interested in collaborating with MuckRock on Long COVID or other public health topics, you can reach out to us here.

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