These sources have minimal bias and use very few loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes). The reporting is factual and usually sourced. These are the most credible media sources. See all Least Biased Sources.
Overall, we rate Newsguard Least Biased based on neutral wording and the use of a credible methodology. We also rate them High for factual reporting based on proper sourcing of all information.
Factual Reporting: HIGH Country: USA World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 2018, Newsguard is a browser extension that displays the credibility and transparency of media sources. Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz are the Co-Founders. Brill founded The American Lawyer, Court TV, and the Yale Journalism Initiative. Gordon was the publisher and columnist of The Wall Street Journal.
Funded by / Ownership
Newsguard is a for-profit company that began with $6 million dollars of seed funding. Investors include the two co-founders, as well as notable groups such as the Knight Foundation and Cox Investment Holdings. A full list of the seed donors can be found here. Newsguard generates revenue through licensing of its ratings to advertisers, who use these ratings when determining what sites are safe to place their advertising. They have also formed a partnership with Microsoft by having their extension built into the Edge Browser. Newsguard is currently seeking more partnerships and licensing agreements.
Analysis / Bias
Newsguard reviews and rates media and information sources using a 100 point scale. Each source is rated on 9 different criteria and with each criterion having a different weight that totals 100 for a perfect score. Any source that scores a 60 or above will be given a green shield and those below 60 will receive a red shield. Newsguard also provides, what it calls a “Nutrition Label”, to explain how they came to their conclusions. The nutrition label is well-sourced and provides examples to support their claims.
In review, Newsguard reviews media websites and rates them according to the criteria listed above. The information provided on their nutrition labels is thorough and sourced properly. They also do not use loaded words and maintain a neutral tone in their reviews. We found that there are many sources given a green shield rating, that we rate Mixed for factual reporting. This simply indicates that they have a different standard in their ratings. Perhaps a yellow shield would be appropriate for sources that are transparent, but occasionally publish misleading information, or as we rate them “Factually Mixed.” Newsguard does not factor bias into their ratings, though they will mention it on their nutrition label. The primary focus of the ratings is on transparency and lack of deception, such as labeling advertising and separating opinion from news pieces.
Newsguard has faced both criticism and praise. The number one criticism of Newsguard, is that some sites that many perceive as being untrustworthy, were given a green shield and some sources that people find trustworthy were given a red shield (Al Jazeera). NewsGuard has been criticized by Breitbart News as “the establishment media’s latest effort to blacklist alternative media sites” Newsguard denies this claim.
In general, Newsguard provides evidence-based information that is well-sourced and adheres to established criteria.
Overall, we rate Newsguard Least Biased based on neutral wording and the use of a credible methodology. We also rate them High for factual reporting based on proper sourcing of all information. (D. Van Zandt 2/20/2019)