We have been made aware of a number of cases of misinformation and speculation in relation to the spread of Covid-19 at Oxford. A number of sites have, either intentionally or unintentionally, published information relating to the extent of the spread at the University which has been proven to be misleading or untrue. Consequently, we would like to publicly clarify our reporting policy on this incredibly sensitive issue.
Initially, we had intended only to cover news which concerned the University as a whole. However, the prevalence of information being revealed without verification or confirmation on anonymous submission websites has led us to reconsider this policy. Following discussions with the senior editorial team, we will now be sharing news relating to specific college and university responses, and will share information on the disruption that the virus appears to be causing to the University’s social and academic scene. All updates, as Cherwell is made aware of them, will be published on a dedicated page on our website. All information released on the website will be independently verified by a member of Cherwell’s editorial team, so that we can be certain of its accuracy.
We will not be covering or releasing any information relating to the individual students directly affected by the virus, such as the college attended or subject studied. We do not believe that the release of such information will prove useful, and it would likely contribute to an unproductive culture of hysteria around the issue as a whole. Colleges are taking measures necessary to control the spread of the virus as far as possible, and we believe that releasing information relating to affected students will not grant unaffected students any extra agency to avoid the virus.
We are conscious of the fact that many students are concerned about the spread of Covid-19 at Oxford, but the release of misinformation is not a constructive way to combat the virus. Our policy is to provide students and members of the Oxford community with accurate information to enable them to better understand the situation, without relying on fear mongering.
We encourage all students to refer to the University’s official advice for information relating to the coronavirus.
- Cherwell Editors
For Cherwell, maintaining editorial independence is vital. We are run entirely by and for students. To ensure independence, we receive no funding from the University and are reliant on obtaining other income, such as advertisements. Due to the current global situation, such sources are being limited significantly and we anticipate a tough time ahead – for us and fellow student journalists across the country.
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