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Covering the coronavirus story requires careful navigation and constant attention.

News organizations trying to responsibly report on the growing health crisis are confronted with the task of conveying its seriousness without provoking panic, keeping up with a torrent of information while much remains a mystery and continually advising readers and viewers how to stay safe.

"It's a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, around-the-world story," said Michael Slackman, international editor at The New York Times.

The Times maintains a live news blog about the coronavirus that is refreshed 24 hours a day, with editors in New York, London and Hong Kong dividing responsibility.

The Slack channel set up by Associated Press journalists to discuss coverage among themselves and contribute to the story has 388 members. Starting Monday, NBC News is turning its morning newsletter solely into a vehicle for talking about the disease.

The coronavirus has sickened thousands, quarantined millions and sent financial markets reeling - all while some cultural critics say the story is overblown.

"It's hard to tell people to put something into context and to calm down when the actions being taken in many cases are very strong or unprecedented," said Glen Nowak, director of the Grady College Center for Health and Risk Communication at the University of Georgia.

But that's what journalists in charge of coverage say they need to do.

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Free Press Journal