NPF reached out to a few health reporters for their advice on covering Ebola if it emerges in your coverage area. They responded quickly with a good list of questions and some sourcing ideas. Use this list, and send us your own counsel and questions in the comments section. We will keep this document updated as the Ebola story continues.
Free, authoritative, updated Ebola information from The Lancet, here: http://ebola.thelancet.com/?elsca1=Ebola_email_TL&elsca2=email
Plus, a Stateline, Q&A on what states are doing to prepare for an Ebola outbreak. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2014/10/15/q-a-what-are-states-doing-to-prepare-for-an-ebola-outbreak
A good primer (and great read!) on covering Ebola comes from the Washington Post’s Lenny Bernstein, on the ground in Liberia: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/10/01/reporting-on-ebola-first-rule-is-you-dont-touch-anyone/
Here are some basic things any reporter covering Ebola should know. Most of these answers can be found on the CDC website, where an Ebola update page has FAQ and latest news.
What are the symptoms and how long does it take for them to show?
How is Ebola transmitted?
What are the protocols being enforced in airports nationwide to detect possible infected travelers?
How well prepared are U.S. hospitals to deal with possible cases?
Are certain people more susceptible than others?
Is there a cure or experimental treatment?
How does this virus affect minors and pregnant women? What are their chances to survive?
What should you do if you think you might have Ebola?
About the patient: Where did he/she come from? How was he/she exposed? Where was he/she living/working? Who did he/she potentially expose? Where and when did he/she seek treatment? When was Ebola suspected? How was he/she diagnosed? What is the patient’s current status? What medications are being administered? What is the chance of survival?
About the case: Who is being quarantined? How are contacts being traced? Is there a centralized tracking system in place (usually at the state level) to monitor fever cases + West Africa travel or contact with a case? If so, how are these systems mobilized once an index case is identified? For example, in NC, the NC Health Alert Network is a secure intrastate system for health alerts and crisis communications between state and local health departments and law enforcement. Separately, a statewide Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool monitors disease patterns in Emergency Department visits, EMS responses and poison center calls.
In contact tracing, how are people outside of friends and family defined as contacts and then counseled? For example, the apartment groundskeepers in Dallas that hosed away Mr. Duncan's vomit might have been more exposed to virus than even the family he was visiting. Which contacts are being monitored? Have areas touched by the patient and contacts been sanitized?
About the community: What additional level of surveillance or tracking is being instituted? What level of mandatory isolation or quarantine are permitted by state health guidelines? Have schools been affected? Is there a local West African community? Are they organizing extra precautions, fund-raisers or volunteer efforts of any kind? If there is an outbreak in my area, what can people do to protect ourselves? What is the public health department doing to educate the public? Is there a designated hospital in the area that is best equipped to contain the virus if a patient is diagnosed? What precautions are in place to prevent exposure of health care workers or others, and were they in place when the patient was first identified?
Dallas: Zach Thompson, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services: 214-755-9299 (mobile)
Dallas: Candace White, Texas Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas PIO: 682-551-3707 (mobile) or CandaceWhite@texashealth.org
North Carolina: Megan Davies, MD, Chief and State Epidemiologist, (919) 733-3421 or email@example.com
North Carolina: Scott Zimmerman, DrPH, MPH, Director, NC State Laboratory of Public Health, (919) 733-7834 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada: Dr. Michael Gardam, Director, Infection Prevention and Control University Health Network, Toronto: email@example.com or (416) 340-3758
Canada: Dr. Todd Hatchette, Service Chief, Division of Microbiology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Halifax Capitol Health: firstname.lastname@example.org or (902) 473-6885
Reporters should first contact their similar state authorities in a community outbreak.
For local outbreaks
Local public health officer, hospital leader or ministry of health official who knows the details of the case and control efforts.
State public health officials
The following journalists contributed to this report:
Karen Falla, Univision; Julia Belluz, voxmedia.com; Liz Neporent, ABC News; David Kroll, Forbes; Christine Vestal, Stateline; Pauline Dakin, CBC News
September 29, 2014—Washington, D.C., — The National Press Foundation today announced the appointment of veteran journalist Sandy Johnson as President & Chief Operating Officer.
“The Board of Directors is very excited to begin working with Sandy,” said Chairman Heather Dahl. “She has the perfect blend of executive-level management, strategic thinking and experience implementing innovative ideas. Combine these qualities with her deep roots as a journalist; I know she will lead our Foundation to the next level.”
Ms. Johnson succeeds Bob Meyers, who led the nonprofit foundation for 21 years in its mission to educate and train thousands of journalists on critical issues confronting the public.
"I’m delighted that Sandy has been selected to lead NPF forward,” said Mr. Meyers. “Her vision and commitment to journalism and democratic values will make an immediate impression. I look forward to working with her on the transition. "
Ms. Johnson has held senior management positions at several national news organizations, including The Associated Press, AARP Bulletin, Stateline and the Center for Public Integrity. She was AP’s Washington Bureau Chief for 10 years, overseeing coverage of the federal government, elections and politics and working with AP journalists in all 50 states as well as across the globe. Under her direction, AP refused to call the 2000 presidential race for George W. Bush despite enormous pressure after the television networks made the erroneous projection. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her decision.
Ms. Johnson has served on NPF’s Board of Directors since 2001 and was Chairman of the Board from 2007-2008.
“I am honored to take the reins from Bob Meyers and transition NPF into its next chapter,” said Ms. Johnson. “As the news business adapts to revolutionary changes, journalists of all stripes need the education and training that NPF provides, now more than ever.”
NPF has offered free professional development to journalists since 1976. Through seminars and webinars, NPF helps journalists better understand and explain the impact of public policy and other issues to readers and viewers. Upcoming programs focus on finance literacy for young people, lung disease research and entrepreneurship in China, for example.
NPF is a 501(c)(3) organization. More information is available at www.nationalpress.org.
Terrorism connects all of us, even as it is futile in advancing the mad goals of the perpetrators. The National Press Foundation condemns it and extends deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all who have been victimized. Terrorism cannot succeed at anything other than showing that barbarity exists. It is despicable and beyond comprehension.
Terrorism attacks the innocent. It crushes those seeking to live their lives or help others. In this last category fall three fallen journalists, Steven J. Sotloff and James Foley, and also Daniel Pearl, all of whom were killed trying to do what journalists do – seek out knowledge and bring that knowledge to others. Mr. Pearl was on staff at The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Sotloff and Mr. Foley were independent journalists, filing stories from locations where there were few borders and no bureaus. Two hundred eleven journalists have been imprisoned since 2013 and 34 have been killed in 2014, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Terrorism attacks the survivors, those who worked with or loved those who perished. Mr. Sotloff was friends with a member of the NPF extended family, who is devastated by his loss. The day Mr. Pearl’s 2002 death was announced, the paper’s editor, overcome with grief, was unable to attend an NPF event honoring his leadership of – what else? – The Journal’s coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On that infamous day, 2,977 people died, on the ground and in the air. Only a few of those dead were military, and they were working in offices. The others were simply leading their lives.
Terrorism destroys the fragile connections between those who seek to help and those who want to help. This foundation has for more than a decade produced programs for international journalists on health issues. We started in 2002 when I telephoned Professor Joep Lange, at his lab in Amsterdam. Dr. Lange was then president of the International AIDS Society, and I wanted to test his interest in NPF developing programs for non-U.S. journalists in conjunction with the upcoming AIDS conference in Bangkok. He liked the idea, approved it, and put me in touch with IAS staffers with whom we collaboratively developed the program. More than 600 journalists from 93 countries have attended our journalist-to-journalist programs over the years, launched when Dr. Lange said Yes to an idea that help others.
Dr. Lange was one of 298 people killed in the rocket attack on Malaysian flight 17 last July. Also killed on that flight was Glenn Thomas, a communications consultant with the World Health Organization with whom we had worked on both AIDS and tuberculosis programs. The flight was over Ukraine and intelligence sources said the rocket had been fired by pro-Russian separatists – terrorists.
With the world flooded with weapons, and sectarian militias glorying in asymmetrical warfare, there is not going to be an end to terrorism anytime soon. Which means more people, including journalists who’ve calculated the risks, and also the unaware innocent, will die. These horrific deaths, of people born into the wrong sects, of airline passengers five miles above the ground and headed a thousand miles away, of office workers, of children in refugee camps, of women who get in the way, diminish us all. It is mind-boggling and insane, and at the moment it is what we have to live with.
In a letter to President Obama, journalist organizations complain of restrictions on reporters covering The White House. Click HERE to read the full story.
The National Press Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free professional development programs to journalists to increase their knowledge of complex issues. NPF seeks a responsible, creative, and detail-oriented intern to assist staff with varied projects. Responsibilities include:
- Assist Media Team with social media presence, webpage maintenance and creative new media initiatives.
- Complete research for special projects and compile metrics and data when needed.
- Research, fact-check and prepare content for agency entries in our Washington Beat Book (http://nationalpress.org/programs-and-resources/washington-beat-book/) under the supervision of Director of Programs.
- Support Programs Assistant with logistical planning for all journalist training programs. This will include programs in Washington D.C. and may include international programs, depending on NPF’s developing programs calendar.
- Assist Director of Operations with planning and promoting the 32nd Annual Awards dinner.
- Assist with all general needs of the National Press Foundation office.
NPF is looking for a candidate with an interest and/or background in journalism and digital media who is willing to take on diverse projects. This is a great opportunity for the right candidate to gain quality, hands-on work experience and be an integral part of our small staff. Applicants should be aware that this position involves a variety of tasks that are more administrative and desk heavy. The intern should be very self-motivated and eager to take initiative, and add personal detail and creativity to each task. Interns are welcome to attend any and all local NPF journalist training programs. The right candidate could be an upper-level undergraduate, graduate student, recent graduate or young professional looking to gain more experience.
Additional Qualifications Needed:
- Interest in journalism required with journalism experience preferred
- Strong research and writing skills
- Knowledge of and experience with Excel, Microsoft office including Publisher and Photoshop
- Added experience in html and Expression Engine a plus
- Interest in business and digital marketing
- Language skills a plus
NPF is looking for an intern to start sometime in late August/early September. Internship may last until December 2014 or may be extended into the spring should both the intern and NPF be agreeable. Part-time (at least 20 hours per week) or Full-time hours (40 hours per week) are preferred, although some flexibility may be possible. A stipend will be provided and will be determined based on the work schedule established (typically $500 per month for part time work and $1000 per month for full time work).
To apply, please email a resume and cover letter to email@example.com. All application materials will be considered on a rolling basis until August 1, 2014.