Brigitte Trafford Joins NewsGuard’s Global Advisory Board
(London, 21 April, 2020) NewsGuard, which counters misinformation online by using trained analysts to rate thousands of news and information websites, announced that Brigitte Trafford has joined its global advisory board. NewsGuard launched in the US in 2018 and has since expanded to the UK, Italy, France and Germany.
Ms. Trafford was most recently the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Virgin Media, the Executive Committee member responsible for policy, regulatory and government affairs, communications and sustainability. During her 6 years at Virgin Media she also represented the company on the CEO board of Internet Matters a not-for-profit organisation founded by BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin Media in 2014 to help keep children safe online. Prior to this she had run the corporate communications departments of three of the UK’s biggest public companies – Lloyds Banking Group, ITV and ICAP. Between leaving ITV and joining Lloyds Banking Group she founded a strategic communications consultancy whose retained clients included Thomson Reuters, The New York Times, Clear Channel International and Oxford University’s Centre for Business Taxation. Previously she was global head of communications and chief spokesperson for Dow Jones, publishers of The Wall Street Journal, based in London and then New York.
Ms. Trafford will join NewsGuard’s UK advisory board members Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, Richard Sambrook, former director of global news at the BBC and current director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University, and former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. Globally, the advisory board includes Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the U.S. CIA and NSA and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and former secretary general of NATO. Advisory board members provide strategic advice to NewsGuard strategy, but other than Mr. Sambrook in the UK and the editorial advisors in other countries, play no role in the determinations of ratings or the Nutrition Labels of websites.
NewsGuard’s journalistically trained analysts rate and create Nutrition Labels for all of the news and information websites that account for 95%-plus of online engagement in each country in which it operates. They apply nine basic, apolitical criteria of journalistic practice to each news website.
The ratings and labels are available through a browser extension available on Chrome, Safari, Edge and Firefox as well as through the Microsoft Edge mobile apps for iOS and Android, which provides access through mobile devices. NewsGuard is in discussions with other technology companies as well as with internet providers about joining Microsoft in making its ratings and labels available to news consumers in their social media feeds, search results and through other digital products.
“I am proud to be joining NewsGuard’s advisory board at a time when its work has never been more important or valuable to consumers,” said Ms. Trafford. “I look forward to supporting NewsGuard’s efforts to make its ratings available to internet service providers and tech platforms in the UK and beyond.”
Most recently, NewsGuard partnered with The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and BT to raise awareness of a free tool to help the UK public identify fake news and learn about the dangers of COVID-19 misinformation.
“I am delighted that Brigitte Trafford will advise NewsGuard as we advance our mission of providing news consumers with the information they need to know which news and information websites are generally reliable—and which ones are not,” said Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard Co-CEO. “Brigitte and I first worked together at The Wall Street Journal, helping to ensure it remained among the world’s most trusted sources of news.”
NewsGuard was launched in September 2018 by media entrepreneur Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz. The company provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites.
NewsGuard rates all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the US, UK, Germany, France, and Italy.
NewsGuard rates each site based on nine apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, including whether a site repeatedly publishes false content, whether it regularly corrects or clarifies errors, and whether it avoids deceptive headlines. It awards weighted points for each criterion and sums them up; a score of less than 60 earns a “Red” rating, while 60 and above earns a “Green” rating, which indicates it is generally reliable.
NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels can be licensed by internet service providers, browsers, news aggregators, and social media and search platforms in order to make NewsGuard’s information about news websites available to their users. These ratings are made available to consumers through its browser extension, which is available on Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox browsers, and on mobile devices through the Edge mobile browser for iOS and Android devices. For more information, including to download the browser extension and review the ratings process, visit newsguardtech.com/free.