Cologne City Library Becomes First NewsGuard Library Partner In Germany

LONDON/COLOGNE, October 24, 2019. The Cologne Public Library is the first library in Germany to become a partner of the NewsGuard Media Literacy program. NewsGuard uses trained journalists to rate and review thousands of news and information websites: Is a page credible or not? Can readers trust the content? The NewsGuard Labels of more than 3,000 websites worldwide provide answers to these questions – and make NewsGuard a reliable tool in media education, now also used by the Cologne Public Library.

The program allows patrons to engage critically with the news and information websites in their social media feeds and search results. Libraries use the tool in a variety of ways: They install the NewsGuard browser extension on the computers and laptops available to patrons and can use NewsGuard’s ratings and “Nutrition Label” reviews as a basis for media literacy workshops and discussions. Together with partner libraries and schools, NewsGuard develops exercise material for these programs.

At NewsGuard, a team of journalists thoroughly analyzes each news site. Using nine basic, apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, they check if sites publish false information or misleading headlines, if they disclose ownership and financing, whether they provide information about content creators, and whether they are clearly labelling sponsored content in advertising. Armed with NewsGuard, users are empowered to make informed decisions about what to read, share, and trust. Since launching in Europe in early 2019, NewsGuard has issued ratings and reviews for the news and information websites accounting for over 90% of consumption and social media engagement (shares and likes) in Germany.

“The discussion concerning the formation of opinion in democracy, journalism, and the correct handling of false news will be one of our focal points in the near future and we are already offering more events on this topic,” said Cologne head librarian Hannelore Vogt. Vogt sits on the advisory board of Public Libraries 2030.

The Brussels-based non-profit organization promotes media literacy in libraries across Europe and has recently started working with NewsGuard to achieve this goal. More than 300 libraries in the US and Europe are already using the NewsGuard plugin in media literacy education. Several hundred other partnerships are in progress.

“As a former resident of Cologne, I’m delighted that Cologne Library is leading the charge in Germany as our inaugural public library partner,” said Anna-Sophie Harling, Managing Director for NewsGuard Europe. “We look forward to working with Hannelore and her team to promote news literacy skills and empower citizens across the city.”

NewsGuard’s Media Literacy Partnership Program is sponsored by Microsoft Corp. Public Libraries 2030 and NewsGuard are soliciting sponsors for the European program. Potential sponsors and librarians interested in bringing NewsGuard to their library may visit newsguardtech.com or contact sarah.brandt@newsguardtech.com.