COVID-19 Resources for NSWA Members
The COVID-19 pandemic poses special challenges for science writers but also creates opportunities for science communicators to help with the public response. Many resources are available to help freelancers, PIOs, staff writers, and other science communicators as they adjust their work around this fast-changing public-health emergency. We will add to this page coverage resources of use to those writing about COVID-19 as well as economic assistance resources for those facing financial difficulties in their business due to the pandemic.
If you are aware of additional resources that would be broadly useful to NSWA members, or would like to request a discounted $1 hardship membership, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 COVERAGE RESOURCES
- Links from the National Association of Science Writers to tips on responsible pandemic coverage, seeking diverse sources, taking care of yourself and others, and making connections with other journalists and PIOs covering COVID-19.
- NASW has also created an email discussion board for reporters covering the pandemic.
- A Journalist’s Toolbox page maintained by the Society of Professional Journalists has a huge set of link to public health organizations, pandemic data visualization tools, journalism tipsheets, and fact-checking resources relevant to the epidemic.
- King County Public Health news site on COVID-19. You can sign up here to receive daily news alerts via email. Latest official numbers are presented on the data dashboard.
- KingCountyTV archives videos of news briefings on its YouTube channel.
- Washington State Dept. of Health COVID-19 site presents statewide epidemic numbers on its data dashboard.
- Washington State’s coronavirus response website collects official guidance and closure notices.
- TVW offers downloadable, unedited video and transcripts of Gov. Inslee’s press conferences.
- NSWA member Wudan Yan and local freelancer Gregory Scruggs started a WhatsApp group chat for Seattle-area reporters to share tips, sources, and safe-reporting protocols.
- The Poynter Institute’s Covering COVID-19 daily briefing for journalists is free via email.
- First Draft has a searchable database of debunked coronavirus myths and misconceptions, as well as many other useful resources for reporting responsibly and ethically on a subject that some readers find terrifying and traumatizing.
ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE RESOURCES
- NSWA has created a guide for science writers to the federal CARES Act, which creates several forms of financial assistance for individuals and businesses affected directly or indirectly by the pandemic.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has begun issuing Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loans to small businesses and non-profits, including freelancers who are self-employed, that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Click here to apply. SBA is giving emergency advances to small businesses in the amount of $1,000 per employee, up to a maximum of 10 employees. The advances do not have to be repaid.
- Washington’s Employment Security Dept. has a COVID-19 page with info on unemployment insurance and other benefits. You can subscribe to their list for email updates. On April 18, ESD began accepting applications from independent contractors and self-employed workers for expanded unemployment benefits. Read this guide for details on the application process.
- Washington has extended a special enrollment period to secure health insurance for people who are uninsured.
- Washington is offering emergency grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses of 10 employees or fewer to assist in paying expenses such as rent, supplies, and utilities. The grants may not be used for payroll or capital investments. Applications are processed by counties.
- This article in the New York Times spells out the range of benefits available to self-employed workers from the new relief packages.
- Wh!pSmart is maintaining a list of grant programs in Washington for creative workers, including journalists.
- The Freelancers Union has an explainer on the Federal CARES Act, which authorizes supplementary unemployment benefits, one-time cash payments, and a Paycheck Protection Program that authorizes banks to make low-interest, long-term loans to small businesses, including gig-economy workers, whose income has been impacted.
- The National Geographic Society is issuing grants of $1,000 to $8,000 to journalists for local coverage of the preparation, response, and impact of this global pandemic as seen through evidence-based reporting. Beyond reporting on medical and physical health related to COVID-19, they are especially encourage reporting that covers social, emotional, economic, and equity issues.
- If you’re worried about paying your credit cards, mortgage, rent, student loans, or utilities, check out the WA Dept. of Financial Institution’s page full of helpful info and resources.