NewsGuard, a NYC-based startup that will address the fake news issue, raised $6m in funding.
The round was led by Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s leading ad agency holding companies, with participation from:
– Steven Brill
– Gordon Crovitz
– Nicholas Penniman IV and Nicholas Penniman V
– Eijk van Otterloo
– Jules Kroll
– Cox Investment Holdings, Inc.
– John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, Inc.
– Blue Haven Initiative
– Eugene Garrett Bewkes III
– John McCarter
– Fitz Gate Ventures, L.P.
– Leslie Hill
– Charlotte Hill
– Thomas Glocer
– Michael Hill
– John Levy
– Whitney Hatch
Co-founded by longtime journalists and media entrepreneurs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard will address the fake news crisis by hiring dozens of trained journalists as analysts to review the 7,500 news and information websites most accessed and shared in the United States, in time for the mid-term elections in November.
The ratings — Green, Yellow, or Red — will be derived in a process that will be completely transparent and accountable.
NewsGuard will launch in the U.S. and then expand to other countries.
Two NewsGuard analysts will independently review and rate each site or online publication. One will then draft the Nutrition Label, which the other will edit. These write-ups can then be accessed to allow readers to learn more about why publishers received the Green, Yellow or Red rating.
The labels will explain the history of the site, what it attempts to cover, who owns it, who edits it, and make transparent other relevant factors, such as financing, notable awards or missteps, whether the publisher participates in programs such as the Trust Project , which holds publishers to transparency standards, or has repeatedly been found at fault by one of the established programs that check individual articles.
Any disagreements between the two analysts reviewing each site will be resolved by NewsGuard’s senior editorial officers, who will include co-founders Brill and Crovitz, as well as James Warren and Eric Effron.
In addition to rating the 7,500 most read and shared sites, a separate “SWAT Team” will be on call on a 24/7 basis to receive and act on alerts about sites that are suddenly trending, but that have not yet been rated, including because the site was just launched to promote a fictitious, sensational story.
The NewsGuard analysts will rate these sites in real time.
The ratings and Nutrition Labels will constantly be subject to change, depending on whether the standards of the sites change and also on input from news consumers, including a prominent, easily accessible process for comments and critiques from readers and viewers.
In addition, all sites receiving a Yellow or Red rating will be asked to comment on the rating, and their comments will be reported in the Nutrition Label.
The company will supply browser plug-in versions of the software providing its ratings and Nutrition Labels for free to news literacy groups, school and university systems, and individual consumers so that ratings and Nutrition Labels can appear as part of the searches they conduct or news alerts they receive.
NewsGuard will license its ratings and Nutrition Labels to the various social media and search platforms and other aggregators of news and information so that they can offer the ratings and Nutrition Labels with their feeds.