Another journalistic icon is joining the fight against fake news. Steve Brill will shortly launch News Guard, a startup that rates news content, so consumers finding news via search or social media will have a better idea of whether it’s trustworthy.
Brill rose to prominence as the founder of the magazine American Lawyer (1979) and later founded Court TV (1991), pioneering online news and opinion site Brill’s Content (published from 1998-2001), and the Yale Journalism Initiative (2006).
His latest venture aims to combine technology with “qualified, accountable human beings” to fight the persistent scourge of fake news, according to Axios, which first reported the news.
In practice, that means hiring moderators and curators with expertise in a relevant area to rate online content, beginning with a team of 40 to 60 journalists. NewsGuard will seek to monetize its activities by charging license fees to social platforms and aggregators.
Brill is close to completing a $6 million round of funding to launch News Guard. The company expects to launch a product for U.S. search and social-media users sometime around the middle of next year.
As co-CEO of News Guard, Brill is bringing on board Gordon Crovitz, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, who has collaborated with Brill on digital news startups in the past. In 2009, for example, the duo joined forces to found Press+, an online payment system meant to enable digital publications of all sizes to charge readers for content. In 2014, Press+ was sold and merged with Piano Media.
Brill isn’t the only one trying to stem the rising tide of fake news.
Last month, Google announced a partnership on Thursday with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), run by The Poynter Institute, which promotes best practices when it comes to accurate information online.
Facebook began offering users more information about the sources of news in its News Feed, making it easier for users to find reputable publishers. The social network is making the information available via a small new button, marked “i,” which appears on article links in the News Feed. Users who click on the button will pull up a box with information about the publisher behind the article.
Earlier this year, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced he was raising funds for WikiTribune, a site dedicated to tackling fake news.