Senior Policy & Communications Officer Hanno Fenech takes us behind the scenes of IPSO’s new THE COVID REPORT: How the British press are reporting on the pandemic.

THE COVID REPORT: How the British Press is Reporting on the Pandemic was published this week. It is an insightful examination of how the regulated press covered the outbreak of coronavirus and the first year of the pandemic. It looks at key areas of editorial decision-making and provides case studies of particular challenges around reporting rapidly-developing science and government response measures. 

The report was a collaborative effort across IPSO. Drawn together by the External Affairs team, it utilised copious data from the Complaints team and editorial standards monitoring by the Standards department to analyse all Covid-related complaints IPSO received in the period. Drawing together the data with quantitative analysis and individual case studies, the report demonstrates the importance of trusted, accountable news, and also identifies challenges in cases where individual pieces of journalism fell short of the standards required by the Editors’ Code.   

THE COVID REPORT is an opportunity to examine how IPSO regulation worked to uphold the high editorial standards required by the Editors’ Code of Practice in unprecedented circumstances: a moment where the public needed accurate, timely public health information like never before. We hope to inform editorial decision making during the next period of the pandemic and beyond. 

IPSO regulates the large majority of newspapers, magazines and associated news websites in the UK: involving thousands of stories and features every week. Invariably, there will be slip-ups and mistakes that don’t meet the high bar set by the Code. The report therefore offers practical, constructive guidance on areas to watch out for in the reporting of Covid-19. 

The pandemic will likely be a feature of our lives for some time to come. Thus, the report is both a tool for looking back and to strengthen coverage of Covid-related issues going forward.   


Read the full report here.   

More Covid-related work from IPSO here.


Originally published 26 November 2021.