Meedan launched Health Desk in the immediate aftermath of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists delivered high quality and accessible health content to journalists and fact-checkers covering urgent health topics.
Health Desk served three major purposes:
- Provide a reliable source of information for rapidly evolving science
- Generate explanations for conflicting evidence and treatment recommendations
- Share recommended resources for fact-checking organizations and journalists to review
Our project successfully reached audiences across Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and North America.
Explainers reached global audiences through newsletters, podcasts, online forums, and content produced by fact-checkers, altogether serving 40+ newsrooms, large and small, around the world.
The Meedan team has now placed a hiatus on the day-to-day responding process of Health Desk. We are conducting an impact assessment of our work so far, and examining how we can better serve communities through topic area support in the future.
A small team of scientists with expertise across climate justice and public health, infectious disease, nutritional epidemiology, pandemic preparedness, vaccine adoption and health behavior change created over 500 science articles. Each article or database ‘entry’ responded to questions submitted by fact-checkers and journalists, with additional information to further distill each topic’s historical and scientific significance for health communicators.
This impact was magnified through a collaboration with Localization Lab, targeting eight languages prioritized by our current partners.
We also worked with a global network of Science Media Centres to expand the global reach of the resources that they have created by including them in the short articles we produce for our partners.
Through the syndication model developed for this project, our partners identified an audience of millions in more than 18 countries across Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and North America.
This audience included podcast listeners, website visitors and newsletter subscribers.
This level of impact was made possible through our syndication model for content dissemination, enabling a small team of scientists, researchers and communicators to influence diverse information spaces.
The turnaround time for the content we produced was 48 hours or less, following the tight editorial cycles of our journalism partners. Responses were often created in as few as 5 hours by team members on-call to meet urgent partner deadlines.
This rapid response directly targeted midinformation: misunderstandings, misinterpretations and misrepresentations based on scant or emerging scientific evidence.