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US start-up Newsguard rolls out trust rankings for major UK newsbrands

Newsguard

US news rating tool Newsguard is rolling out its rankings for all major UK newspapers for the first time today, judging them trustworthy or not and giving them a red (bad) or green (good) “nutrition label”.

The service made headlines at the start of the year when it gave Mail Online in the US a red rating, claiming it failed to uphold “basic standards of accuracy or accountability”, but later went back on this.

Newsguard co-chief executive Steven Brill said that 15 per cent of UK websites ranked by his company had received a red rating.

Scroll down for UK newsbrand rankings (as they come in)

Newsguard launched in the US last year and runs as a free extension on Google Chrome (pictured), Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge browsers, the latter for which it is included as part of a package on mobile.

Brill and co-chief executive Gordon Crovitz said around 150 websites have been reviewed by Newsguard analysts for its UK launch today, with that number later expected to rise to around 200.

A handful of UK sites, including the Guardian and BBC, were ranked earlier because of their large US presence, but have been rated again for the UK.

These outlets include all news and information websites that account for 90 per cent of online engagement in the country in terms of both traffic and social media stats.

All websites are ranked based on nine factors, which are:

  • Not repeatedly publishing false content
  • Gathering and presenting information responsibly
  • Regular corrections and clarifications (where necessary)
  • Handling the difference between news and opinion responsibly
  • Avoiding deceptive headlines
  • Disclosing ownership and source(s) of financing
  • Clearly labels advertising
  • Reveals who is in charge and any conflicts of interest
  • Provides name of content creators with either contact or biographical information.

Outlets are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 points, with each of the nine factors being weighted differently based on importance. A website needs 60 points to be given a green label.

At its UK launch event, Newsguard revealed that former BBC director of global news Richard Sambrook, Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales and former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen had joined its global advisory board.

Sambrook has also been involved in ranking UK titles as a senior advisor on the national press.

In a statement, Wales said: “Newsguard’s Nutrition Labels are an effective, wonderfully designed, and unique tool for helping people understand who is feeding them the news. I’m delighted to be associated with Newsguard.”

Sambrook added that he was “delighted to be able to advise Newsguard” on its nine criteria for trustworthy journalistic practice.

A Yougov poll, commissioned by Newsguard, found that nine in every ten of the 2,120 adults believed false or misleading information on the web was a problem, while 82 per cent said they would find a traffic light ranking system for trustworthiness helpful.

Newsguard rankings for UK newsbrands (so far):

BBC News: Green
(Failed: “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

Sky News: Green
(Failed: “Regularly corrects or clarifies errors”;  “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

ITV News: Green
(Failed: “Regularly corrects or clarifies errors”; “Reveals who’s in charge, including any possible conflicts of interest”; “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

LBC: Green
(Failed: “Regularly corrects or clarifies errors”; “Reveals who’s in charge including any possible conflicts of interest”; “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

The Times: Green
(Failed: “Website discloses ownership and financing”; “Reveals who’s in charge, including any possible conflicts of interest”;  “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

The Sun: Green
(Failed: “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

Mail Online: Green
(Failed: “Gathers and presents information responsibly”; “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

The Telegraph: Green
(Failed: “Website discloses ownership and financing”;  “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

Financial Times: Green

The Guardian: Green

The Independent: Green
(Failed: “Website discloses ownership and financing”; “Clearly labels advertising”)

Buzzfeed News UK: Green

Huffpost UK: Green
(Failed: “Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly”)

Daily Express: Green
(Failed: “Gathers and presents information responsibly”; “Avoids deceptive headlines”)

The i: Green
(Failed: “Website discloses ownership and financing”; “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

Daily Star: Green
(Failed: “Gathers and presents information responsibly”; “Avoids deceptive headlines”)

Daily Mirror: Green
(Failed: “Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly”)

Metro: Green
(Failed: “Website discloses ownership and financing”; “Reveals who’s in charge, including any possible conflicts of interest”;  “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

Evening Standard: Green
(Failed: “Website discloses ownership and financing”;  “Clearly labels advertising”;  “Reveals who’s in charge, including any possible conflicts of interest”; “The site provides names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information”)

Manchester Evening News: Green

The Canary: Green
(Failed: “Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly”)

Guido Fawkes: Green

The Economist: Green

New Statesman: Green
(Failed: “Regularly corrects or clarifies errors”)

Spectator: Green
(Failed: “Regularly corrects or clarifies errors”; “Website discloses ownership and financing”)

Politicalite UK: Red
(Failed: “Gathers and presents information responsibly”; “Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly”; “Avoids deceptive headlines”)

Press Gazette: Green

Comments

2 thoughts on “US start-up Newsguard rolls out trust rankings for major UK newsbrands”

  1. A green rating for sites which don’t ‘handle the difference between news and opinion responsibly’ or ‘avoids deceptive headlines’ makes this whole thing dubious. That the Evening Standard passes with a green mark despite failing on four major criteria – including conflict of interest – makes it a farce.

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