Reporters Without Borders Partners With NewsGuard to launch Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) Emergency Protocol to Support Ukraine’s Quality News Media
This crisis response mechanism will help newsrooms in at-risk markets, starting with Ukraine, to accelerate their validation according to the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) and to quickly get their NewsGuard rating, thereby allowing advertisers, funders and tech companies to support endangered journalism.
(May 11, 2023 – Paris) – The Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI), an international journalism standard initiated by Paris-based non-profit Reporters Without Borders (RSF), announced today the launch of a JTI emergency protocol powered by NewsGuard, to enable the speedy deployment of its evaluation process to countries where the media landscape is most at risk. This effort, which launches first in Ukraine, will help advertisers and others support quality journalism.
As part of JTI’s crisis response mechanism, NewsGuard will engage with newsrooms to help them complete their JTI transparency reports, a first step toward their certification. NewsGuard will also rate their news websites according to its own methodology, based on nine apolitical criteria of journalistic practice. This will help these newsrooms establish their credibility and transparency to advertisers, digital platforms, funders and tech companies, opening up new possibilities of financing for struggling media.
The JTI emergency protocol, which will eventually be offered in multiple crisis regions, will first be deployed in Ukraine, where the media have suffered immensely since the start of the Russian invasion, including from the collapse of the advertising market. Leading Ukrainian journalism outlets such as Hromadske, Lb.UA, Novynarnia, Hmarochos, Svoi City and Your City TV have agreed to be part of the initial round of twenty-five beneficiaries of the program, funded by the EU delegation in Ukraine.
“We are delighted to partner with NewsGuard on the deployment of our certification process to regions of the world that most need it,” said Thibaut Bruttin, assistant director general of Reporters Without Borders. “The transparency of NewsGuard’s process, as well as the rigor with which it applies the JTI criteria, makes it the perfect partner for this program. The JTI signal can especially serve as a token of trustworthiness to be used by social media, search engines and news aggregators to grant incentives (verified accounts, appropriate moderation, due prominence, advertisement) to the media. ”
“One of the most rewarding aspects of our work at NewsGuard is helping reliable news outlets get much needed funding from advertisers by being on our brand-safety ‘Inclusion Lists,’ which are used by advertisers, ad agencies and ad-tech companies to include quality news sites in programmatic and other forms of advertising,” said Chine Labbé, NewsGuard Vice-President of Partnerships, Europe and Canada. “We are proud to work with the JTI to expand to regions and outlets that most need it. Although our methodologies are different, we have always shared a common mission of helping credible media stand out and regain the trust they so deserve.”
“Having strong, vibrant and trusted independent news media is critical to healthy democracies across the world,” said Ginny Badanes, Senior Director for the Democracy Forward program at Microsoft, which supports the Journalism Trust Initiative and licenses NewsGuard ratings and other trust data. “Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have prioritized support to Ukraine including to news organizations within the country covering the war. This partnership between NewsGuard and Reporters Without Borders empowers readers to have confidence that they are getting information about the war from trusted news organizations that follow widely accepted practices of integrity and accuracy.”
Filling their JTI transparency reports and getting rated by NewsGuard will help the participating media identify gaps and areas of improvement in their journalistic practices. Since NewsGuard’s launch in 2018, more than 2,100 news sites have engaged with NewsGuard analysts to improve their trust scores related to NewsGuard’s standards of journalistic practice.
News websites with high trust scores are featured in NewsGuard’s “Inclusion Lists” for digital advertising, which are used to place programmatic advertising on websites as well as for broadcast and podcast advertising.
Launched in March 2018 by media entrepreneur and award-winning journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard 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 U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and now in Australia and New Zealand. NewsGuard products include NewsGuard ratings, NewsGuard for Advertisers, which helps marketers concerned about their brand safety, and the Misinformation Fingerprints catalog of top false narratives online.
In February 2023, the company launched NewsGuard for AI, which provides the leading tools to train generative AI models to avoid spreading misinformation. Generative AI models such as Microsoft Bing Chat use the Misinformation Fingerprints to recognize and avoid spreading the top false narratives online and use the NewsGuard ratings to differentiate between generally reliable sources of news and information and untrustworthy sources so that the machines can be trained to treat these sources differently.
In 2022, NewsGuard for Advertising began to include ratings of television news and information programs and networks using criteria similar to those used to score websites but adapted for the video medium. NewsGuard’s TV ratings are the first to go beyond its initial ratings of websites. In May 2023, NewsGuard announced that it is also rating news and information podcasts, working with three of the largest audio platforms, which will help advertisers gain confidence in supporting highly rated podcasts. Ratings for CTV and OTT news programming and news and information podcasts will be available for licensing in 2023.
NewsGuard’s ratings are conducted by trained journalists using apolitical criteria of journalistic practice.
NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels are licensed by browsers, news aggregators, education companies, and social media and search platforms to make NewsGuard’s information about news websites available to their users. Consumers can also access NewsGuard’s website ratings by purchasing a subscription to NewsGuard, which costs AU$6.95/month, NZ$6.95/month, US$4.95/month, €4.95/month or £4.95/month, and includes access to NewsGuard’s browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and its mobile app for iOS and Android. The extension is available for free on Microsoft’s Edge browser through a license agreement with Microsoft. Hundreds of public libraries globally receive free access to use NewsGuard’s browser extension on their public-access computers to give their patrons more context for the news they encounter online. For more information, including to download the browser extension and review NewsGuard’s ratings process, visit newsguardtech.com.
About Reporters Without Borders and the Journalism Trust Initiative
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) defends the right of every human being to have access to free and reliable information. This right is essential to know, understand, form an opinion and take action on vital issues in full awareness, both individually and collectively.
Our mission is to act for the freedom, pluralism and independence of journalism and defend those who embody these ideals.
Our annual World Press Freedom Index measures the state of press freedom in 180 countries.
Initiated and promoted by RSF, the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) is an international standard for trustworthy journalism that focuses on identity and transparency of media outlets and on professional standards and accountability mechanisms that govern their news production.
It has been developed by a panel of 100+ international experts under the aegis of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and published as Workshop Agreement CWA 17493 in December 2019 in the form of an ISO-type standard. It receives support from partners such as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Agence France Presse (AFP) and many newsrooms around the world.
It is currently being used by 500+ newsrooms around the world, 50+ of which have publicly disclosed their compliance with the many criteria of the norm. It is an ISO-type standard that offers the possibility to be independently audited. So far, 15 publishers went this extra mile and have been awarded a JTI Certification.