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How to Read Coronavirus News and Learn What You Actually Need to Know About Staying Safe in the Pandemic

reading news and pandemic

With COVID-19, a news story that may be 100% accurate can still unintentionally mislead readers about the greatest threats of the pandemic. The unintended outcome results from a lesson taught to every journalism student: Use “real people” to “humanize” the news.

The “real person” in COVID-19 stories may be a mom concerned about her child getting sick in the classroom, used as an example in an article about schools reopening. It may be the the family member of a person who died from COVID-19, who gives a moving account for a story about the virus’s effects on young adults.


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Thomas J. Hrach

Thomas J. Hrach

Thomas J. Hrach is Associate Professor, Department of Journalism and Strategic Media, University of Memphis. Thomas J. Hrach's journalism career includes working as an editor and reporter at The Marietta Times in Marietta, Ohio, for more than 18 years before returning to school in 2005 to pursue his doctorate degree. His passion for journalism started young as an avid newspaper reader in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. As a reporter and editor in Ohio, he won several awards for his writing that included reporting on politics, crime, and business.

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