Ebola coverage: the good, the bad and the ugly

Like all big stories, the ongoing Ebola outbreak is showing the best and the worst (and ugliest) of how news is covered and distributed online.

To some, the Ebola story offers opportunities to experiment with new reporting forms; to others, it is just another click-bait vehicle. Here’s a look at some of the highs and lows of the coverage of the most viral story of the year.

The Good

To keep people informed about Ebola, the BBC is turning to WhatsApp, which it’s using to send people in West Africa multi-lingual updates and heath alerts about the virus. So far, BBC efforts have centered on helping people avoid infection.

“We wanted to try to come up with more creative ways to reach people in the region,” said Trushar Barot, apps editor at The BBC World Service. “It’s clear that mobile is an important platform to get this information to people in that part of that world.”

WhatsApp, which has over 500 million users, is one of the most popular messaging apps in West Africa, which explains why BBC went with it over competing apps. One challenge to the effort, Barot said, is to figure out the balance between keeping people informed while not overwhelming them with too much information. This is why BBC doesn’t expect to send out more than a pair of updates a day... Read the full article here.