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California, April, 17th, 2017 (cuny.edu). A group of tech industry leaders, academic institutions, non-profits and other organizations are jointly launching a $14 million fund to support the News Integrity Initiative, a global consortium focused on helping people make informed judgments about the news they read and share online.
The Initiative’s mission is to advance news literacy, to increase trust in journalism around the world, and to better inform the public conversation. The Initiative will fund applied research and projects, and convene meetings with industry experts.
The founding funders are Facebook, the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Tow Foundation, AppNexus, Mozilla and Betaworks.
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, whose director is Professor Jeff Jarvis. The Initiative will appoint a general manager, who will report to the dean of the CUNY J-School, Sarah Bartlett. The Journalism School will coordinate the activities of the News Integrity Initiative, including research, special projects and events.
“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,” says CUNY J-School Dean Sarah Bartlett. “It’s hard to think of a more important role for a public graduate school of journalism.”
“As part of the Facebook Journalism Project, we want to give people the tools necessary to be discerning about the information they see online,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s Head of News Partnerships. “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.”
“In high school U.S. history, I learned that a trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund. “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.”
“Creation of a funders consortium emerged as a major theme from the Facebook-ASU news literacy working group meeting just a month ago,” said Dan Gillmor, author and professor at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. “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.”
Funding for the News Integrity Initiative will be administered through the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Foundation, Inc., an independent 501c3 whose mission is to support the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
The News Integrity Initiative will seek out additional funders and participants in order to fund research and projects, convene events and further the goal of fostering better informed communities.