NewsGuard in Italy: Our Progress and Partnerships

NewsGuard’s award-winning Italian editorial coverage, reporting, partnerships, research, and media literacy efforts have had broad impact.

By Virginia Padovese, Giulia Pozzi, and Sara Badilini | Published on September 4, 2023 

Since NewsGuard’s launch in Italy in the summer of 2019, our Italian team has expanded its editorial coverage in the country — rating the trustworthiness of Italian-language news and information websites, monitoring the top false narratives that have spread in the country, and reporting on the risks posed by online mis- and disinformation. The team has also forged important partnerships across different sectors, including leading
academic institutions and public libraries, among others. September 2023 also marks two years since the launch of the Italian Digital Media Observatory (IDMO), a 30-month long project to fight misinformation funded by the European Commission, of which NewsGuard is one of the eight founding partners.   

NewsGuard’s Virginia Padovese was awarded the 2021 Amerigo Award for Journalism, which recognizes the journalists and editorial teams that report on the U.S. for the Italian public, in the category “websites.” Padovese also received the 2022 Nostalgia di Futuro Award (category Quality Information) “for the work of NewsGuard, which since 2018 has been committed to assessing the credibility and transparency of news websites, and in particular for the report on the main hoaxes spread online during the days leading up to the Italian political election of 25 September 2022.”

NewsGuard has rated the news and information sites that account for 96% of online engagement with the news in Italy. This high proportion of coverage means NewsGuard has produced detailed ratings for not only the most widely read sources but a large variety of more specialized, targeted publishers. View three example labels from the region here.


Italian academic research partnerships

NewsGuard has partnered with five Italian academic researchers studying misinformation and disinformation.

  • Ca’ Foscari University of Venice is currently in its third year of licensing both NewsGuard’s Reliability Ratings and Misinformation Fingerprints. NewsGuard’s data have been most recently used in a study about polarization around climate change on social media, published on, among other academic papers.
  • Urbino University Carlo Bo has been licensing NewsGuard’s Reliability Ratings since 2021. Fabio Giglietto, Associate Professor at Carlo Bo, said that his team has used NewsGuard data in two key areas. “For development, we’ve integrated NewsGuard ratings into our R package, CooRnet, which detects coordinated sharing behavior. If users provide their subscription credentials, CooRnet generates a reliability score for each identified network by averaging the ratings of domains shared by the associated social media accounts.” said Giglietto. “In research, we often use NewsGuard ratings to gauge the spread of problematic information. While NewsGuard’s coverage varies by country, it remains a singular resource for comparative studies. They are the only platform that evaluates news websites using a consistent methodology across all the countries they assess,” Giglietto added.
  • The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI)  licensed NewsGuard data for the CARISMA project (CAll for Regulation support In Social MediA) in 2023. Gianluca Nogara, computer scientist and assistant professor at SUPSI, said: “We have been using NewsGuard’s Reliability Ratings to study the evolution of user communities over time. In particular, NewsGuard has given us the possibility to accurately classify the clusters of users who share websites with low reliability and consequently low-quality or false news, thus identifying those communities which are inclined to negatively influence social media content in general.
  • La Sapienza University of Rome has been using NewsGuard Reliability Ratings for two years. Gabriele Etta, researcher at La Sapienza, told NewsGuard that his research benefited from NewsGuard’s data, which made it easier for him to assess the quality of news consumed by readers. Etta described NewsGuard as “pivotal for all those working in misinformation,” citing its “potential to capture previously hidden consumption dynamics [of news] and, therefore, to provide a more articulated information landscape.
  • In 2023, IMT Scuola Alti Studi Lucca renewed its partnership with NewsGuard for a second year. Its researchers recently used NewsGuard’s Reliability Ratings dataset for a paper headlined “Entropy-based detection of Twitter echo chambers.”Our partnership with NewsGuard has provided us with a dependable vantage point to observe the phenomenon of misinformation on Twitter. The furnished data has emerged as an invaluable instrument, facilitating a comprehensive assessment of the news quality consumed across the diverse communities that engage in Twitter discussions,” said Manuel Pratelli, researcher at IMT.
The Italian universities and academic institutions that license NewsGuard’s data.

Public library partnerships

NewsGuard has partnered with public libraries across Italy, offering its browser extension at no cost as a media literacy tool to the libraries’ staff and patrons, thanks to its partnership with Microsoft. Among the partners is the Milan Public Libraries system, with which NewsGuard organized an event in February 2023 to mark one year since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The event, titled “A Year of War Between Information and Misinformation,” analyzed the role of reliable journalism to counter misinformation and propaganda in wartime. NewsGuard’s Senior Advisor Giampiero Gramaglia and Managing Editor and VP Partnerships for Europe Virginia Padovese were among the panelists.

They highlighted NewsGuard’s work in identifying and tracking false narratives about the war and disinformation sites. “Information during a conflict is not only a key factor for the forces confronting each other on the ground but also an element of propaganda and manipulation of public opinion that is used as a proper weapon,” said Stefano Parise, director of Milan’s Public Library system. “Spreading awareness about this reality, its mechanisms, and the ways in which false information is produced and disseminated during wartime — objectives that NewsGuard’s analysts have been working on over the past year and a half, as outlined at the event — is also fully within the scope of a library, which has among its tasks to enable citizens to become reliably informed and exercise critical thinking.”

Events and conferences

NewsGuard’s analysts have presented their work tracking misinformation sources and false narratives online at multiple conferences and events held in Italy. These engagements include “Tracking Disinformation: Shaping the Digital Ecosystem,” a seminar organized by LUISS Data Lab, the US-Italy Fulbright Commission, and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and held in Rome in February 2023; “War, Technology and Power: the Challenges to International Security,” a conference organized by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Army Training and Application School Command – Post Conflict Operations Study Centre in April 2023; and the “SDG 16 as a compass for navigating intersecting crises” conference in Rome, organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the International Development Law Organization, and the Government of Italy, held in June 2023.  

The panelists Virginia Padovese (NewsGuard), Marilisa Palumbo (Corriere della Sera), Stefano Parise (Sormani Library), Lorenzo Brufani (Comscore), and Giampiero Gramaglia (NewsGuard) at the event “A Year of War Between Information and Misinformation” held in Milan on February 22, 2023. (Image by NewsGuard)

Media literacy efforts

NewsGuard’s Italian team has significantly expanded its media literacy efforts, participating in several events, workshops and classroom visits to raise awareness of misinformation and disinformation. NewsGuard’s team held lessons for students at Future Education Modena, Luiss University, University of Padua, and La Sapienza University of Rome. NewsGuard Analyst Sara Badilini was also a panelist in the webinar “Did you fall for it? On the lookout for fake news about the EU,” held by Fondazione Trentina Alcide De Gasperi, aimed at the students and the residents of Trento, in northern Italy.


Our work with IDMO, the Italian Digital Media Observatory

Over the past year, NewsGuard has continued to work as part of the Italian Digital Media Observatory (IDMO) — along with other founding partners including LUISS University, publishing group GEDI, telecommunication company TIM, public broadcaster RAI, fact-checker Pagella Politica, Tor Vergata University, and consulting company T6 Ecosystem. This broad consortium studies, monitors, and combats mis- and disinformation. IDMO’s efforts span research, analysis, dissemination, and media literacy initiatives, as well as public events. In the last year, NewsGuard’s analysts have shared their research at multiple events and meetings organized by IDMO, including its annual event, ​“IDMO 365: Reshaping Infosphere,” at LUISS University in Rome in March 2023, and the Turin International Book Fair in May 2023 — where NewsGuard Senior Analyst Giulia Pozzi talked about the risks of generative AI in terms of perpetuating false narratives and creating a new crop of ‘content farms.’


Ongoing misinformation reporting is widely cited in Italian press

NewsGuard’s reports on emerging and prominent misinformation trends have been covered extensively by Italy’s most prominent news outlets, such as Il Corriere della Sera, La Stampa, Il Sole 24 Ore, Repubblica, Editoriale Domani, Wired, and Il Post. NewsGuard’s monthly Misinformation Monitor newsletter has been also regularly featured on, a leading news site. In June 2023, NewsGuard’s work was also widely featured in a four-part RAI documentary, “Digital World vs Fake News,” in which NewsGuard’s Virginia Padovese described the company’s prebunking approach, pro-bono media literacy efforts, and services for advertisers and brands to demonetize disinformation. 

Examples of coverage of NewsGuard’s reports on prominent Italian news sites. (Screenshots via NewsGuard)

NewsGuard’s work used by university students

In the past 12 months, three Italian university students cited NewsGuard’s work in their final dissertations, after interviewing NewsGuard’s staff and studying NewsGuard’s pre-bunking approach in the fight against misinformation. In her dissertation, presented in April 2023, Serena Sandrini from Brescia University cited NewsGuard as a tool to empower online users to identify misinformation sources. Two students from La Sapienza University of Rome, Salvatore Stuto and Giorgia Giangrande, similarly noted NewsGuard’s work on tracking misinformation on the 2022 Italian political electoral campaign, and onTikTok misinformation, respectively.


Helping Italian news sites improve transparency practices

Many of the Italian-language sites analyzed by NewsGuard engaged with analysts in order to improve their journalistic practices, and thus their final trust score. Among these,, a monthly science magazine for children, improved its practices and now meets NewsGuard’s standards for revealing who is in charge and for providing information about content creators. Throughout the years, national news site, which focuses on technology and mass media, engaged with NewsGuard to improve its credibility and transparency practices, including its standards for handling the difference between news and opinion responsibly, for disclosing ownership, and for clearly labeling advertising. As a result, the site now has a trust score of 100/100.

Gianmichele Laino, Giornalettismo’s editor-in-chief, said that the site has “welcomed with much interest the observations that NewsGuard brought to our attention.” Laino added: “We believe that NewsGuard’s criteria contribute to the improvement of the media ecosystem. Such close scrutiny of a news site can only be an incentive for those who perceive the internet as a service for the user and for those whose mission is to provide readers with useful tools to meet the challenges posed by digitization — especially in times when more importance is given to a handful of ephemeral clicks rather than to news that meets the requirements of reliability.”

Some of the Italian-language news sites that received a high NewsGuard rating incorporated their ratings on their homepage, or published articles to promote their NewsGuard score.

National news site, for example, published an article in July 2023,  promoting its 100/100 rating. Similarly, local news site incorporated NewsGuard’s logo at the bottom of its homepage to promote its 95/100 score.

“We are very proud to be able to accompany our articles with NewsGuard’s ‘shield,’” said Alberto Marello,’s editor-in-chief.  “It’s a shield that we have earned by abiding to the rules of good journalism and that defends readers from the dangerous and dishonest practices of those who, by simulating the style and the methods of this profession, do not have deontological information as their primary objective. We also look forward each year to NewsGuard’s review, because it significantly contributes to the continuous self-assessment we make of our work on a daily basis.


Original research on Italian news, elections, and social media trends

Beyond NewsGuard’s monitoring of global misinformation, its Italian team has also published reports on Italy-specific news and social media trends:

In the Italian Elections Misinformation Tracking Center, NewsGuard monitored misinformation spread by news sites and social media users during the political campaign and aftermath of the September 2022 general elections, along with Italian fact-checker, a  partner at IDMO. The Tracking Center included summaries and debunks of emerging election-themed false narratives, such as the misleading claims that the elections were rigged because Italians abroad could not vote for anti-establishment parties, or that the vote was scheduled for September 25 to allow members of Parliament to receive their annuities.

In July 2023, NewsGuard identified what appeared to be a network of 36 Italian-language unreliable AI-generated (UAIN) news sites, documented as part of its AI Tracking Center, which as of August 2023 counts 452 websites. NewsGuard found multiple examples of error messages typical of AI chatbots in all 36 sites in the network, which publish low quality content including outdated information presented as new information, false or baseless information about public figures, and deceptive headlines.


NewsGuard Briefing for Italian Journalists

Finally, NewsGuard invites all journalists covering mis/disinformation beats and current affairs in Italy to join a webinar on October 17, 2023 at 3.30 pm CET. NewsGuard’s Italian senior advisor Giampiero Gramaglia and our Managing Editor and VP Partnerships Europe Virginia Padovese, will lead the conversation in Italian, highlighting NewsGuard’s reporting on more than 30,000 sources, how it may aid  journalists’ reporting, and trends in misinformation and disinformation, including relating to generative AI models, that may provide story ideas. 

Reporters who RSVP and attend will receive a free voucher to the NewsGuard browser extension, which enables easy access to trust scores, ratings and Nutrition Labels for thousands of news and information websites. Reporters will also be able to ask NewsGuard’s staff about their reporting on ChatGPT, unreliable AI-generated news websites, and analysis on misinformation and disinformation trends.

 To RSVP to the event, click here.

To learn more about working with NewsGuard in Italy, contact