The journalism group First Draft News, which has until now represented startups focused on real-time news coverage, is bringing in a bevy of new members—including three of the most prominent social networks out there—as part of its plan to fight online misinformation.
First Draft News has a good head start on its second draft.
First Draft News, a media-industry group that, since its launch last year, has represented publishers in the real-time news space, has been noticed by the platforms where much of that news breaks—Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
“We live in a time when trust and truth are issues that all newsrooms, and increasingly the social platforms themselves, are facing,” First Draft Managing Director Jenni Sargent said in a news release this week.
The organization, which was created with the backing of the Google News Lab, is a resource to help journalists verify and identify misinformation in breaking news online.
First Draft News launched with eight members, including the news-verification powerhouse Storyful, the currently dormant startup Reported.ly, and the conflict-news-verification hub Bellingcat. But now the group is expanding, with the help of a new partner network, which will include a number of news outlets that rely on real-time online reporting, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, and CNN.
But Sargent says the conversation wouldn’t be complete unless First Draft News had the help of the networks that enable this work—which is why Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are also members of the partner network.
“We recognize that actually it’s time to start doing instead of talking about it, and in order to achieve solutions in some of these areas we really needed to bring the social networks into the conversation,” Sargent explained to Journalism.co.uk.
A Collaborative Approach
For their part, Twitter and Facebook see a lot of potential in the new collaboration.
“Twitter is thrilled to be a part of the First Draft Partner Network so that we can collaboratively shape best practices, ethical guidelines, and tools when it comes to discovering and verifying eyewitness media,” Twitter’s manager for news partnerships, Niketa Patel, said in a statement.
Aine Kerr, Facebook’s manager of journalism partnerships, added that the network “represents an important opportunity for the news industry to work together on best practices, trainings, research, and more.”
The social networks will be included at First Draft summit meetings with all of the partners. Leaders of the organization will also hold additional meetings with the platforms to discuss concerns, collaboration projects, and platform-specific goals.
The aim is to create a feedback loop between the newsrooms and the tech companies. Sargent says First Draft wants the partner network to be more than a “wall of passive logos”; it wants to create concrete solutions as an industry.
“We are not going to solve these problems overnight, but we’re certainly not going to solve them as individual organizations,” Sargent said.