The News Integrity Initiative Launches With Facebook as One of Its Founding Funders

The News Integrity Initiative will be run as an independent project by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

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Facebook is one of the founding funders of the News Integrity Initiative, a global consortium taking aim at fake news by advancing news literacy with the hopes of increasing trust in journalism.

The News Integrity Initiative will be run as an independent project by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism under the auspices of the School’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, and the group’s other founding funders are:

News Integrity Initiative said in a press release that the mission behind the $14 million fund is “to advance news literacy, to increase trust in journalism around the world and to better inform the public conversation,” adding that it will be used to back applied research and products, as well as to convene meetings with industry experts.

A general manager will be appointed for the News Integrity Initiative, reporting to CUNY Journalism School dean Sarah Bartlett.

Early participants that will contribute to conversations, host events around the world and bring projects and research for potential funding to the Initiative’s attention include:

  • Arizona State University
  • Center for Community and Ethnic Media at CUNY Journalism School
  • Constructive Institute at Aarhus University (Denmark)
  • Edelman
  • European Journalism Centre (Netherlands)
  • Fundación Gabriel García Márquez para el Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI, Colombia)
  • Hamburg Media School (Germany)
  • Hans-Bredow-Institut (Germany)
  • The Ida B. Wells Society
  • International Center for Journalists
  • News Literacy Project
  • Polis, London School of Economics (U.K.)
  • Ecole de Journalisme de Sciences Po (Sciences Po Journalism School, France)
  • The Society of Publishers in Asia (Hong Kong)
  • Trust Project
  • Walkley Foundation (Australia)
  • Weber Shandwick
  • Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development (headquartered in France)

Facebook head of news partnerships Campbell Brown said in the release:

As part of the Facebook Journalism Project, we want to give people the tools necessary to be discerning about the information they see online. Improving news literacy is a global concern, and this diverse group assembled by CUNY brings together experts from around the world to work toward building more informed communities.

Bartlett added:

By locating the News Integrity Initiative at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, our faculty and students will have a unique opportunity to engage with researchers and technologists, attend events and conduct experiments aimed at building greater trust in our profession. It’s hard to think of a more important role for a public graduate school of journalism.

Craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund founder Craig Newmark said:

In high school U.S. history, I learned that a trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy. As a news consumer, like most folks, I want news we can trust. That means standing up for trustworthy news media and learning how to spot clickbait and deceptive news.

And Dan Gillmor, author and professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, added:

Creation of a funders consortium emerged as a major theme from the Facebook-ASU news literacy working group meeting just a month ago. Today’s announcement sends a strong signal that news literacy matters. We can’t upgrade only just the supply of news. We need to upgrade ourselves, to become better, more active media users as consumers and creators.

Image courtesy of GoodLifeStudio/iStock. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.