August 5, 2014

That tweet came from CNN international correspondent David McKenzie, who’s currently reporting on the Ebola outbreak from Sierra Leone. On Monday, McKenzie filed this story about how he and other journalists at CNN are staying safe while covering a story with worldwide health implications.

“This is more about just having some basic things, like chlorine and water and all of this, to protect yourself, but also just to calm yourself down in what can be a very emotional and scary reporting trip,” he said in the video.

I’ve started a Twitter list of journalists covering the Ebola outbreak from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and nearby countries. Who am I missing? Please email or tweet suggestions to me at or @kristenhare. Here’s what I heard from other news organizations:

Associated Press — West Africa correspondent Krista Larson is covering the story for the AP, “drawing on our network of reliable stringers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Krista is based in Dakar, Senegal and has a wide knowledge of West Africa and long-standing working relationships with the stringers and her stories reflect that depth,” Andrew Meldrum, AP’s assistant Africa editor, told Poynter in an email.

Those stringers include Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Liberia, Clarence Macaulay in Sierra Leone and Sarah DiLorenzo in Senegal.

“Because of the dangerous nature of Ebola, Krista Larson has instructed all AP stringers not to put themselves in any danger,” Meldrum said. “This has been challenging for AP’s photographers and videographers. Often we have had to rely on images taken by groups, such as Doctors Without Borders, which have staff photographers at treatment centers. It is a challenging story – but one on which the AP’s Africa team and others around the globe have relished working together to report on a complex, serious story.”

A close up of newspaper front pages focusing on the Ebola outbreak, including a newspaper, left, reading 'Burn all bodies' in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 deaths in West Africa as the World Health Organization on Thursday announced dozens of new fatalities. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)

A close up of newspaper front pages focusing on the Ebola outbreak, including a newspaper, left, reading ‘Burn all bodies’ in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)

Los Angeles TimesRobyn Dixon is covering the outbreak from South Africa.

“In general, we try to take every possible precaution we can when covering dangerous situations,” Nancy Sullivan, vice president of communications with the Times, told Poynter in an email. “Each situation has its own specific nuances and, as such, we don’t have a formal one-size-fits-all policy in place regarding protection or pulling back.”

The New York Times — Adam Nossiter reported at the end of July from Guinea. Samuel Aranda is a freelance journalist. He’s covering the outbreak for the Times. Ben C. Solomon is a video journalist for the Times based in Kenya. He’s currently reporting from West Africa.

NPR— NPR’s Jason Beaubien was in Sierra Leone in mid-July, and Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is heading to Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Monday.

“Before Jason’s assignment, we consulted with the CDC and MSF,” NPR spokesperson Emerson Brown told Poynter in an email, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Doctors Without Borders. “We also had a number of conversations involving Jason, his editor, senior news executives and our international security manager. We agreed on a series of protocols to best allow Jason to do his reporting while minimizing the risk of contracting Ebola.”

Per Brown, those protocols include:

— Do not enter isolation units; avoid shaking hands; avoid funerals; avoid eating bush meat; avoid any obvious gatherings/demonstrations; use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

— While he was on the ground, he was in regular contact by phone, text and email with managers in DC about prospective daily movements.

Brown said Quist-Arcton will follow the same protocol and that since leaving Sierra Leone, Beaubien is monitoring his health.

Wall Street Journal: Drew Hinshaw is covering the outbreak from Ghana.

Vice — Vice doesn’t currently have anyone covering the outbreak, but it did send Kaj Larsen to Liberia for a story that ran on June 26 called “Bushmeat in the Time of Ebola.”

Al Jazeera: Ahmed Idris is reporting on the outbreak for Al Jazeera from Nigeria. Tommy Trenchard is writing for Al Jazeera and other news outlets from Sierra Leone. Clair MacDougall is covering the story from Monrovia, Liberia.

BBC: Stanley Kwenda is covering the outbreak for BBC Africa.

AFP: Carl De Souza is covering the outbreak for AFP.

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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