By Casey Bukro
NewsGuard Technologies is recruiting veteran journalists to fight fake news by color-coding 7,500 news and information websites and video channels in the United States green, yellow and red.
A red rating goes to purveyors of consistently and intentionally false information or propaganda.
Now in the process of recruiting and training qualified journalists to be NewsGuard analysts, the enterprise, based in New York and Chicago, will begin operating in time for the mid-term elections in November.
The 7,500 news sources targeted account for 98 percent of the news articles read and shared in the English language online in the United States. After launching in the U.S., NewsGuard will expand to serve billions of people globally who get news online.
“Our goal is to help solve this (fake news) problem now by using human beings – trained, experienced journalists – who will operate under a transparent, accountable process to apply basic common sense to a growing scourge that clearly cannot be solved by algorithms,” said co-founder Steven Brill, longtime journalist and media entrepreneur.
The founders raised $6 million to launch NewsGuard.
In addition to color-coding websites or online publications, NewsGuard plans to issue Nutrition Labels that will explain the history of the site, what it attempts to cover, who owns it and who edits it. The labels also will reveal financing, notable awards or mistakes, whether the publisher upholds transparency standards or repeatedly is found at fault.
Two NewsGuard analysts will independently review and rate each site or online publication. One will draft the Nutrition Label and the other will edit it. The public can access these reviews to see why publishers got the green, yellow or red ratings.
Any disagreement between the two analysts is resolved by NewGuard’s senior editorial officers, including Brill, cofounder Gordon Crovitz, former Wall Street Journal publisher, James Warren, former Chicago Tribune managing editor and Eric Effron, former Legal Times editor and publisher.
Warren is NewsGuard’s executive editor and Effron is managing editor.
The lead investor in NewsGuard, among 18 investors, is Publicis Groupe, based in Paris. It is a French multinational advertising and public relations company, and the oldest and one of the largest marketing and communications companies in the world, by revenue.