The COVID-19 News Organizations Safety Protocols helps news organisations respond to the extraordinary challenges created by the pandemic, with a focus on the safe commissioning of freelance journalists. 


The resource provides newsrooms and commissioning editors with practical guidance on how to cover the pandemic professionally and in a way that minimises risk. It addresses all aspects of assignment planning and safety including crisis management, communications, hygiene and mental health. It also includes best practice around key freelance issues such as accreditation, PPE, insurance and expenses.














Download in English, Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish

This tool has been produced in partnership with ACOS Alliance signatories Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, Free Press Unlimited, Frontline Freelance Register, International Center for Journalists, International Media Support, International News Safety Institute, International Press Institute, International Women’s Media Foundation, IREXReporters Without Borders, Samir Kassir Foundation and the World Association of News Publishers.



COVID-19: Ensuring the Safety of Field Reporters

Produced by WAN-IFRA Media Freedom

How to ensure maximum planning, preparation and responsiveness in relation to reporting the current Covid-19 outbreak? 

Expert advice and practical tips delivered by Roger Renni, Senior Security Consultant, and Kane Mortlock, Paramedic in State Emergency, at Key Objectives. Presentation and takeaways

Reporting Safely and Ethically on Covid-19 with Fabio Bucciarelli

Produced by Frontline Freelance Register (FFR)

Award-winning photographer Fabio Bucciarelli – whose extraordinary and intimate work from Bergamo, Italy was recently featured in the New York Times -- draws on his frontline experiences to talk about reporting safely and ethically on Covid-19. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Donning and Doffing Procedure for Protective Coveralls

Produced by DuPon, a leading manufacturer of PPE, at the request of HP Risk Management 

Experts show you how to correctly put on and off protective equipment, a crucial aspect to reducing the risk of infection.  

Covid-19 Risk Assessments and Reporting from Hospitals

Produced by Frontline Freelance Register (FFR) 

Stephen Smith, founder of SEPAR International, goes through a risk assessment template for journalists planning to report on Covid-19. The webinar covers a range of issues journalists should be aware of, from working in public spaces to high risk locations, including safety precautions, psycho-social care and legal issues. Steven is joined by Dr Ahmed Shalabi,a registrar working in Covid-19 wards. Dr Shalabi discusses what journalists should expect when reporting from hospitals and some of the considerations to take into account when interacting with medical staff and patients.

Lessons Learned from Journalists Covering Global Pandemics

Produced by IWMF

From Ebola to Zika to COVID-19, covering pandemics and other health crises are one of many ways that journalists put their own safety on the line. In this webinar, journalists from Hong Kong and Italy shared their experience covering COVID-19, and journalists who reported on past global outbreaks spoke about lessons learned. A public health expert and trauma expert also joined the session to touch on the history of pandemic coverage and caring for mental health during an outbreak, respectively.

Natural Disaster Reporting and Covid-19

Produced by Climate Central and the International Association of Emergency Managers 

Focused on safety while covering such a double calamity, this webinar seeks to help journalists report on local emergency planning efforts during the pandemic and to cover disasters effectively and safely when they occur. Experts discuss a wide variety of disasters, including hurricanes, heat waves, tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires.

Staying Safe: How to Report a Pandemic

Produced by GIJN

Experts focus on how to best manage the multiple threats faced by journalists when reporting on COVID-19. Guests: Courtney Radsch, who previously was a journalist, currently is Head of Advocacy at the Committee to Protect Journalists. Dr. Richard Dawood, who runs London’s Fleet Street Clinic, focuses on medical risks, providing preventative care and crisis management for journalists and international media organizations.

How to protect yourself while #coveringCOVID

Produced by ICFJ

This webinar will touch on physical, digital and psychological safety while reporting on the pandemic. It will feature an Egyptian safety expert and DART's Asia Pacific Director Dr. Cait McMahon. Register here.

Online Abuse Self-Defense

Produced by Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and PEN America

Concrete guidance to respond to online abuse and protect yourself and others. As more people are isolating, more people are online and abuse is certain to increase. By Viktorya Vilk. 



Making the World Hurt Less: Enhancing Wellbeing During a Time of Stress

Produced by IWMF

Led by Dr. Katherine Porterfield, this webinar offers a biopsychosocial approach to the stress of the coronavirus outbreak and how to better support yourself during times of trauma.

Journalists' Mental Health

Produced by ICFJ

Covering trauma, whether major international stories or events much closer to home, can also have an impact on those who do the reporting. Panelists: Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University; and Sherry Ricchiardi, Ph.D., co-author of ICFJ's Disaster and Crisis Coverage guide and international media trainer who has worked with journalists around the world on conflict reporting, trauma and safety issues, moderated by IJNet Editor, Taylor Mulcahey.

Self-Care on the Frontline: What Would a Responsible Journalist Do?

Produced by ICFJ

An interview with veteran reporter and journalism educator Elaine Monaghan on the challenges journalists face covering COVID-19, and ways that they can care for themselves while reporting on the pandemic.

Advice for Journalists: Addressing Traumatic Stress in the Era of CONVID-91

Produced by RSF USA and the American Psychological Association

A webinar on stress and anxiety management strategies for reporters covering #COVID19. Reporters Willian Wan of the Washington Post and Naseem Miller of the Orlando Sentinel share their experiences covering the pandemic, as well as other traumatic events. Drs. Lynn Bufka and Vaile Wright, two mental health experts from APA, discuss strategies reporters can use to deal with the anxiety and traumatic stress from covering a crisis like COVID-19. Tip sheets by William Wan and APA. 


COVID-19 Reporting: Ethics and Standards

Produced by WAN-IFRA Media Freedom

Journalists from Spain, the UK and South Africa discuss ways of strengthening ethical reporting as a means of providing essential, accurate public information and examine the media’s role in debunking growing misinformation about Covid-19.

Guests: Anna Johnson, News Director for Europe and Africa, The Associated Press; María Ramírez, Head of Strategy, (Spain); Mia Malan, Founding Editor and Director, The Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism (South Africa). Moderated by: Fergus Bell, Co-founder, fathm (UK). Webinar takeaways.

The Day the Pandemic Arrived: Reporting Lessons from America’s First Hotspot

Produced by the Dart Center and Co-sponsored by Columbia Journalism Review

On January 21, the first case of Covid-19 in the U.S. was confirmed in Washington State, and soon Seattle’s journalists found themselves at the center of the coronavirus maelstrom, covering a devastating community outbreak with international consequences while navigating their own safety and ethical concerns. What lessons can Seattle teach news teams in other communities as covid-19 arrives? Guest: Florangela Davila, News Director, KNKX, Seattle. 

Photojournalims and Covid-19: Ethics, Craft and Safety

Produced by the Dart Center and Co-sponsored by Columbia Journalism Review

Guest: John Moore, Senior Staff Photographer and Special Correspondent, Getty Images

Filmmaking and Covid-19: Ethics, Craft and Safety

Produced by the Dart Center and Co-sponsored by Columbia Journalism Review

Guest: Francesca Tosarelli, independent Filmmaker and Photographer. 


Journalism and Covid-19: Frontline lessons from around the world

Produced by ICFJ

Combating false information, crackdowns on freedom of expression, economic crisis facing the news media,  and the importance of quality journalism. Guests: Maria Ressa (Rappler, Philippines), Branko Brkic (Daily Maverick, South Africa), and Ritu Kapur (Quint, India).


Media Freedom threats and COVID-19

Produced by ICFJ

This webinar features Prof. David Kaye, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Dr. Courtney Radsch, advocacy director at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The session was moderated by ICFJ’s Global Director of Research Julie Posetti.

Learning from Past Pandemics: Covering Ebola

Produced by the Dart Center and Co-sponsored by Columbia Journalism Review

Coronavirus is creating unprecedented challenges the globe over, but it’s not the first pandemic of this century. How does Covid-19 compare to pandemics like SARS and Ebola? Guest: Jina Moore, Freelance Writer, Reporter, Producer

Photographing Covid-19 in NYC

Produced by Frontline Freelance Register (FFR)

A conversation between Lauren Walsh, author of the recently published Conversations on Conflict Photography, and Spencer Platt, an award-winning staff photographer for Getty Images, who has been covering the Covid-19 crisis in New York City. Their discussion centers on Platt’s experiences as a photojournalist working in the current epicenter of the pandemic, and addresses physical health, emotional tolls, best practices and ethical concerns.

#CoveringCOVID: At a Critical Time for News, Reporters Persist Despite Growing Risks to Press Freedom

Produced by ICFJ

“Journalists have the opportunity to amplify public health information and save lives,” says Washington Post opinion writer Jason Rezaian, who spent more than a year in prison in Iran. “We’re not going to come up with a vaccine, but we are able to share this information far and wide.” Rezaian, along with Cilla Benkӧ, director-general of Swedish Radio, and Melinda Liu, the award-winning Beijing bureau chief for Newsweek magazine, highlighted several trends beleaguering press freedom during the pandemic.


There is an overwhelming number of COVID-19 online resources aimed at supporting professional reporting which can be challenging to navigate. Try not to get lost by staying with what's relevant to you and comes from an authoritative source. 

These are comprehensive in their response and information: 

First Draft: Coronavirus Resources for Reporters
Includes guides on verification and ethics.

ICFJ Global Health Crisis Reporting Forum 
Webinars, facebook group and research for journalists covering the crisis. 

Society of Professional journalists: Journalist’s Tool box 
Includes fact-checking resources and data sources.


Free Press Unlimited

​Includes information on how to report responsibly and take care of one’s well-being during this crisis.Links to Funds and grants.


Rory Peck Trust Covid-19 Resources

Includes safey and reporting guides


UNESCO’s Resource Center of Responses to COVID-19
Guides and links to access to information and tacking disinformation resources.