How to Find Credible COVID-19 News Sources
A Guest Blog Post by Kristyn Seeman, MLS, BSN, RN, CNOR
Clinical Perioperative Nurse Research Librarian
April 22, 2020
Growing up, there was a news magazine at the registers of the grocery store called Weekly World News. It ceased publication years ago, but some of you may remember with amusement the eye-catching and unintentionally humorous headlines designed to grab attention and get the customer to add it to their groceries.
There was also a commercial for the more celebrity-focused (and still in publication!) National Enquirer that ran in the 80s, showing people responding, “I want to know!” to an announcer saying, “Inquiring minds want to know!”
Think before you share COVID-19 stories
I feel like we’re in the thick of this right now, while trying to get the most information about COVID-19. “Inquiring minds” are pouncing on any information they find, sharing stories shared on social media which have been shared by friends, and friends of friends. Intentions are good – families who feel disconnected want to protect loved ones that they haven’t seen in weeks or more. But in their haste to act, the stories they share on social media, email, or another platform, are not given a necessary closer look.
As a professional librarian, I was educated on finding unbiased and credible sources. One rule of thumb that I can share is to focus on web sites ending in “.edu,” “.org,” and “.gov” as best bets for credible information. “.com” Web sites, on the contrary, may seem helpful, but they also may have a vested interest in a commercial product or bias.
Best online COVID-19 resources
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a “.gov” site, and they are the seen as the leading source for current and correct coronavirus information; our organization relies on them knowing that they are credible, and their recommendations are evidence-based. The Food and Drug Administration is another important source during this time, as device approvals for safe personal protective equipment is becoming more important. The World Health Organization is another example of a credible site, and their reach is international.
Another point to remember is that while it may be tempting, resist the pull of conspiracy theories. While information about COVID-19 is developing and being verified, there is still a lot of information that we are not certain of, and conspiracies can fill that void easily. “News” sites or sources for news on social media are not always reliable, but if you look up the site itself, you’ll be able to ascertain if there’s a political or other type of bias, or if the site is complete satire.
AORN has a dedicated place for credible websites to consult for the latest guidance on safe practice during the coronavirus pandemic. Our Infection Preventionist nurse authors have been working tirelessly to gather credible sources for practice. Please visit aorn.org for numerous evidence-based COVID-19 resources, and then consult the “COVID-19 Tool Kit” for the latest information and credible web resources and resist the temptation to consult the equivalent of the Weekly World News for COVID-19. I hope you all stay safe and healthy!