News Credibility Ratings Service NewsGuard Partners With Canadian Media-Buying Agencies

NewsGuard, which provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information sources, announced on Tuesday it has formed a partnership with the Canadian Media Directors’ Council to elevate advertiser support for responsible news media in Canada and protect marketers from unintentionally funding misinformation sources that fall below their own brand safety standards. 

At the same time, marketers can support legitimate news publishers, including those serving local markets and Black, Indigenous, Asian, or LGBTQ+ communities, according to a press release from NewsGuard.

In the partnership, marketers represented by CMDC members will be able to leverage NewsGuard’s credibility ratings for news outlets to target ads to credible Canadian news sources while avoiding ad placements on misinformation and unreliable news.

NewsGuard’s credibility ratings are conducted by a team of experienced journalists using nine basic apolitical criteria, including whether a news source repeatedly publishes false content, whether it regularly corrects or clarifies errors, and whether it avoids deceptive headlines.

CMDC members will be able to opt in fully to integrate NewsGuard's Responsible Advertising for News Segments (RANS) — inclusion and exclusion lists for advertiser, which are based on NewsGuard’s credibility ratings — at preferential rates. 

For example, brands may choose to buy ads from trustworthy local Canadian news outlets vetted by NewsGuard’s journalists or to invest specifically in news outlets serving underrepresented groups, such as members of the Black, Indigenous, Asian, or LGBTQ+ communities.



At the same time, brands can opt to avoid ad placements on outlets that might not meet their brand’s safety or suitability standards, such as websites with a history of publishing false claims or websites with unknown ownership. By doing this, they can ensure that advertising revenue is directed to credible outlets.

As part of the partnership, NewsGuard also will offer a free Responsible Advertising for News audit to any interested CMDC member or to brands represented by CMDC members. NewsGuard will review the brand or agency’s inclusion list, exclusion list, or both, and provide an analysis quantifying the overall quality of news sources on the list, the degree of risk from misinformation or unreliable news sources, and the opportunity to improve performance by investing more in high-quality Canadian news sources.

The NewsGuard/CMDC partnership comes as momentum grows across the industry for the Canadian Media Manifesto—a pledge to support local media in Canada signed by hundreds of organizations, executives, and thought leaders.

The partnership between CMDC and NewsGuard aligns with the commitment to support quality local Canadian media, NewsGuard Co-CEO Gordon Crovitz said. “This partnership is particularly exciting because we just launched our ratings service in Canada in January, and this Canadian initiative is the first time we’ve had such a large portion of a country’s advertising market aligned with the idea of supporting quality news in this way,” Crovitz said.

NewsGuard and Comscore reported last year that an estimated $2.6 billion in programmatic advertising is placed every year on websites flagged by NewsGuard for being untrustworthy. A NewsGuard analysis found ads from more than 4,000 brands on COVID-19 misinformation sites, for example. It also tracks advertising that still supports websites publishing Russian disinformation about Ukraine. 

Data has shown that advertising on trusted news sites not only helps support legitimate journalism but also provides financial benefits to advertisers. “It’s the classic case of doing well by doing good,” NewsGuard Co-CEO Steven Brill said. “Not only can advertisers support quality Canadian journalism and build goodwill with customers—they can do it while seeing lower costs and better ad performance."

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