Media veracity watchdog and ratings service NewsGuard this morning
published its annual list of the best and worst publishers of 2021, based on how they were assessed for publishing truthful and accurate information, or not.
NewsGuard tracks thousands of
sites for veracity throughout the year, and its ratings are used by major advertisers and agencies to help develop inclusion and exclusion lists in order to direct their ad budgets toward good actors
and to keep it away from ones that are spreading misinformation, lies and false facts, often just for profit.
The rankings shown above, as well as linkable descriptions to recommended sites in
those and other categories below, are based on NewsGuard's assessment, with the exception of the "Top Ten Most Influential Misinformers," which is based on a combination of their misinformation
ratings, as well as engagement.
"Of course, some unreliable sites have more of an impact than others because they reach a much wider audience," NewsGuard General Manager Matt Skibinski
explains in his description of this year's awards.
"In this list, we have identified the least credible sites — meaning those that fail NewsGuard’s criteria for repeatedly sharing
false content — that garnered the most social media engagement in 2021, according to internet metrics firm NewsWhip, starting with the site with the most engagement. These websites have a record
of routinely publishing falsehoods and, in most cases, declining to disclose to readers who owns the site and creates its content."
The Ten Top “Trustworthy and Trending” Sites
Among the nearly 1,000
sites read by audiences in the United States that earned a perfect 100 score from NewsGuard this year, these 10 received the most social media engagement, with the most widely shared at number one.
This list includes a wide range of sites, including a national newspaper, a weekly magazine, and three local sites.
The website of NBC News, an American broadcaster that publishes global news, original digital content, and clips from its network news shows.
The website of a New York-based news organization with a network of journalists worldwide whose coverage exerts
significant influence on national and international news and on public debate.
website for The Washington Post, a leading daily newspaper owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, publishing local, national, and international news and in-depth analysis.
The website for National Public Radio (NPR), the Washington-based producer of news programs distributed to over 1,000 public
radio stations in the United States.
The website for USA Today, a national newspaper that is
one of the most widely read dailies in the United States. The website publishes global news and local stories from Gannett-owned newspapers.
A website covering business and political news that is part of the larger Insider news brand.
The website of the American business magazine Forbes, which is known for its lists of the world’s richest people. Forbes.com links to
28 international editions from its English-language home page.
The website of Newsweek
magazine, a one-time staple of American journalism, that provides coverage of national and international news, business, technology, and culture.
The website of The Guardian, a daily newspaper based in London known for its left-of-center point of view and investigations into
governments, politicians, and companies around the world.
A news website that frequently publishes
exclusive stories about politics, business, and technology. Axios describes its content as “smart brevity.”
Other noteworthy sites that received a perfect 100 NewsGuard
score include WSJ.com, the site for The Wall Street Journal, and LATimes.com, the site for the Los Angeles Times.
About 15% of new sites serving users in the
United States rated by NewsGuard receive a perfect score of 100 out of 100 points.
The sites on this list all achieved that designation, producing content that is truthful, compelling,
credible, and transparent. However, due to their relatively small staffs or the niche topics they cover, they typically receive little social media engagement.
Below NewsGuard highlights 10
sites engaging in quality journalism that you may have never heard of. (Unlike the other lists, this is not sorted in order of engagement, as all the sites were selected because they receive
relatively little engagement.)
A blog and database dedicated to chronicling retractions
of articles from scientific journals. The site states that its mission is "tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process."
The website of a nonprofit, online-only news site serving the Memphis, Tennessee, metropolitan area.
The website for The Philadelphia Tribune, which was founded in 1884 and is the oldest continuously published African-American newspaper
in the United States.
An online-only news organization in Minneapolis that covers public affairs,
policy issues, arts, and sports in Minnesota’s Twin Cities region.
website for California Healthline, a nonprofit news service focused on health care and health policy in California.
The website of The Oklahoman, a daily newspaper covering Oklahoma City and the surrounding area.
The website of Federal News Network, a news radio station that covers U.S. government agencies for a professional audience.
A nonprofit organization providing in-depth reporting on politics and policy in Kansas and Missouri.
The inaugural site of an online-only local news startup, Lookout Local, serving Santa Cruz County, California.
Similar sites are planned for other cities, the founder says.
An independent, nonprofit news site,
the Hong Kong Free Press, that covers Hong Kong and developments in mainland China that relate to Hong Kong.
Top 10 Trusted Local News Sites
This past year, local
news sources were especially important, as news readers sought out information about local COVID-19 testing and vaccination options, school and business closures, mask requirements, and more. In
certain states, local media sources gained a national spotlight after a close presidential election in which vote-counting, audits, and disputes about election integrity lasted for months.
sites on this list are all focused on local news in the U.S., rated as highly credible by NewsGuard, and among the most highly shared sites in their category.
The website for WXIA, an NBC television affiliate serving the city of Atlanta and the surrounding communities in
northwestern Georgia. The site brands itself as 11Alive.
A site that houses content from eight newspapers
covering news throughout Michigan, including the Flint, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids areas.
The website of The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a daily newspaper covering Atlanta and the state of Georgia.
website of The Dallas Morning News, a daily newspaper that was founded in 1885 and covers the Dallas-Fort Worth area and northern Texas.
The website for KHOU 11, a CBS television affiliate based in Houston.
The website of six New Jersey newspapers, including The Star-Ledger, the state’s largest daily, covering breaking news, politics, business, sports, and
The website for KNXV-TV, an ABC affiliate serving the city of Phoenix and a large portion of
The website for KSAT 12, an ABC affiliate serving San Antonio and surrounding communities in
The website for The Patriot-News, which covers Pennsylvania’s
capital city of Harrisburg, as well as the surrounding region.
The website for WUSA9, a CBS television
affiliate serving the District of Columbia and the surrounding area.
Top 10 Trusted Sites Covering Underrepresented Communities
Even high-quality news sources can miss stories
and perspectives that are highly important to specific groups and communities.
The sites on this list all are rated as generally trustworthy by NewsGuard — and all cover communities
often overlooked and underrepresented in mainstream media.
The website for El Vocero de
Puerto Rico, a free, Spanish-language newspaper covering the United States territory of Puerto Rico.
A website offering business and investment advice aimed at an African-American audience. The site publishes content from Black Enterprise magazine and
related TV shows.
The website for the Black News Channel cable network, covering news, politics, and entertainment
that is aimed at an African-American audience.
The website of Gay City News, a weekly
newspaper serving the LGBTQ community in New York City.
A news and information site geared toward
Black-owned technology start-ups.
A website that covers politics, culture, and general
news for an African-American audience.
The website of Indian Country Today, a news
organization owned by the National Congress of American Indians that covers Native American and indigenous populations in the United States.
A website covering Black history and culture, with an emphasis on the achievements of contemporary Americans.
A website that publishes news for and about Native Americans in the United States and Canada.
A health news and information website that serves an African-American audience.