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About

Our Mission

Today, we need access to the truth more than ever before. But in this polluted information environment, it’s never been harder to know what to trust, and never easier to be misled. Disinformation is targeting and damaging our communities, all around the world.

At First Draft, our mission is to protect communities from harmful misinformation. We work to empower society with the knowledge, understanding, and tools needed to outsmart false and misleading information.

Everything we do starts with collaboration. We bring together a global network of journalists to investigate and verify emerging stories. We work with our partners to conduct innovative research projects and develop pioneering training programs. And we share cutting-edge digital tools to help both content creators and the public make better-informed judgments about the information they encounter online.

By standing up for truth in a polarized world, we can build more trust in society and help every community to thrive.

Our Values

Our core values underline the work we do. Our work is pioneering, and conducted with rigor, empowerment, empathy and integrity.

Opportunities

  • We have no current vacancies.

Read about our recruitment policy on our Opportunities page.

History

First Draft formed as a nonprofit coalition with nine founding partners in June 2015, providing practical and ethical guidance in how to find, verify and publish content sourced from the social web. In September 2016, our original coalition expanded to become an international Partner Network of newsrooms, universities, platforms and civil society organizations.

In October 2017, First Draft was invited to join the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. During this time, we inspired and coordinated the development of the Information Disorder Lab and expanded the scope of our research to explore the spread and threat of information disorder on closed messaging apps.

With thanks to ongoing support from key funders, First Draft is now administered as a company limited by guarantee in the UK, with headquarters in London. It does not have any shares or shareholders, and all revenues are re-invested into the company.

First Draft’s US subsidiary is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, with offices at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. It is operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, and raises its own funding for its work in the US.

In 2019, First Draft opened a Sydney bureau to serve the needs of the APAC region. The bureau is affiliated with the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Media Transition. Funding for our Sydney bureau is currently sponsored by the London company.

Our London, New York and Sydney offices share a common purpose and strategy, collaborating on global projects such as the CrossCheck initiative and First Draft’s coronavirus resources hub for reporters. 

Partner Network

The First Draft Partner Network includes some of the largest news organizations and prominent people working in this space. The network is designed to scale training and establish industry standards on social monitoring, verification, and responsible reporting on disinformation.

We have the following Partner categories:

  • Founding: nine organizations that came together in 2015 to establish First Draft.
  • Core: newsrooms that have staff dedicated to social monitoring and verification and have publicly listed standards policies and corrections protocols.
  • Academic: journalism schools and researchers in a variety of disciplines that work to understand and explain information disorder.
  • Technology: organizations that help to bring insights to the reporting and understanding of how information travels online.

Founding

Core

Academic & Research

Technology

Partnership on AI

First Draft is a member of the Partnership on AI’s Steering Committee on AI and Media Integrity. The steering committee, made up of organizations spanning civil society, technology companies, media organizations, and academic institutions, will be focused on a specific set of activities and projects directed at strengthening the research landscape related to new technical capabilities in media production and detection, and increasing coordination across organizations implicated by these developments. Initial members of the steering committee will include the BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, Facebook, First Draft, Microsoft, the New York Times, WITNESS, and XPRIZE, among other PAI Partner organizations to be later announced.

Funding

First Draft has received funding from the following organizations for 2020: 

Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust
Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Democracy Fund
Facebook Journalism Project
Ford Foundation
Google News Initiative
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Klarman Family Foundation
Media Democracy Fund
The Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust
Open Society Foundations
Wellcome Trust

In 2019, First Draft received funding from the following organizations:

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Facebook Journalism Project
Ford Foundation
Google News Initiative
News Integrity Initiative at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY
Open Society Foundations
Twitter 

Organizations interested in partnerships, sponsorships and other opportunities can reach out to [email protected].

Statement of Independence

First Draft is a non-partisan organization. It has no political affiliation, and does not accept funding from governments or political parties. 

First Draft does accept funding from private-sector and non-profit organizations. Our donors are listed above in the Funding section of this page. While certain projects and initiatives may be guided in part by the specific requirements of our funding partnerships (for example, when we receive sponsorship for the translation of training materials into a particular language), our donors understand that First Draft retains operational and editorial independence. Our decisions are driven by the organization’s mission and values.

Government Policy

As First Draft is recognized internationally for its expertise and thought leadership around the challenges posed by information disorder, our work is in high demand by a variety of groups and institutions, including governments and regulatory bodies. 

We recognize the value in sharing our knowledge with policymakers. First Draft works to inform all who have a stake in the dissemination of accurate information, including governments.

At the same time, First Draft is steadfastly committed to our independence and our impartiality. Our primary target audience is journalists and academics. We do not accept offers of funding or requests for work that might compromise our ability to work effectively with these groups.

This is First Draft’s policy regarding when, where and how we share our work with governments: 

  • We invite governments to use First Draft’s public materials, including our training courses, guides, research and articles.
  • We invite government officials to sign up for First Draft’s daily and weekly briefings on disinformation and the online information landscape. 
  • We may accept invitations to provide expert testimony at government inquiries and before select committees. Please contact us at [email protected] with a description of your request. 
  • We may accept invitations to speak at conferences that are sponsored or co-sponsored by governmental bodies, if such conferences are open to reporting from the media. We do not accept payment for such appearances. Please contact us at [email protected] with a description of your request.
  • If asked to produce documents on behalf of governments (for example, reports or summaries on disinformation), these documents must be made public. We do not produce private reports for governments. 
  • We do not accept offers of funding from or perform paid work (for example, commissioned research or building bespoke training materials) for governments. 
  • We do not provide expertise to governments at sessions or meetings which are closed to the public or to reporting from the media. 

Impact reports

Acknowledgements

First Draft has achieved extraordinary impact and growth since its inception in 2015. This is due to the invaluable efforts and contributions from a long list of respected friends and colleagues, to whom we extend sincere thanks and credit. In particular, we thank the individuals who formed or worked for our original coalition:

Mohammed Adel
Fergus Bell
Ed Bice
Pete Brown
Malachy Browne
Kim Bui
Andy Carvin
Matt Cooke
Nic Dias
Sam Dubberley
Steve Grove
Eliot Higgins
Mandy Jenkins
Aine Kerr
Mark Little
Olivia Ma
An Xiao Mina
Alastair Reid
Craig Silverman
Josh Stearns
Eoghan Sweeney
Aric Toler
Tom Trewinnard

 

Advisory Board

Daniel Bramatti is the president of Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI). He also serves as the editor of Estadão Data and Estadão Verifica. Daniel previously worked as a sub editor at POLITICO and as a correspondent in Buenos Aires.

Liz Carolan is the executive director of Digital Action, which works to counter digital threats to democracy. In 2018 she set up and ran the Transparent Referendum Initiative, a project to enable scrutiny of online activity during the Irish referendum on the 8th Amendment. She has spent the last 10 years working on governance, transparency and data issues at the Institute for Government, the Africa Governance Initiative and Open Data Institute.

Phil Chetwynd is the global news director of Agence France-Presse. Prior to that, he served as the editor-in-chief of AFP and as the organization’s special correspondent in over 20 countries.

Sam Dubberley manages the Digital Verification Corps at Amnesty International. He has over ten years’ experience in broadcast news and was head of the Eurovision News Exchange from 2010 to 2013, managing the world’s largest exchange of TV news content.

Sam Gregory is the program director at WITNESS and an award-winning technologist, media-maker and advocate. For 20 years, Sam has enabled people to use the power of the moving image and participatory technologies to create human rights change. Currently co-chair of the Partnership on AI’s Expert Group on AI and the Media, he focuses on emerging threats linked to AI and mis/disinformation including deepfakes and synthetic media.

Sameer Padania runs Macroscope, an independent consultancy supporting experimentation, innovation and learning in journalism, human rights and philanthropy. He has worked and consulted for organizations such as Open Society, Ariadne, Transparency and Accountability Initiative, WAN-IFRA, the European Cultural Foundation, The Philanthropy Workshop and Google DNI Innovation Fund, on a wide range of journalism, digital media, activism and policy initiatives.

Chris Perry is the chief innovation officer at Weber Shandwick, a leading global communications and marketing solutions firm. With over 20 years of digital and media experience, Chris specializes in helping clients decode the rapidly changing media environment. His writing and work have been featured in Forbes, Fortune, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Chris authors the Media/Genius newsletter, which focuses on media at the intersection of content and intelligence.

Adam Rendle is a partner at Taylor Wessing in the IP/IT group, specialising in copyright, media and brands. Adam provides a wide range of support for clients including complex, strategic advisory work, litigation and disputes, content, advertising deals and corporate transactions. His work focuses on media and tech industries, with major clients across music, publishing, broadcasting, advertising and digital service.

Vivian Schiller is the executive director for The Aspen Institute’s programs on technology, media, innovation and cybersecurity. Previously, she was head of the Civil Foundation, global chair of news at Twitter, senior vice president and chief digital officer at NBC News, and president and chief executive of NPR.

Dan Shefet is the founder of Cabinet Shefet, a law firm that focuses on international IP, IT and competition law. He also founded the Association for Accountability and Internet Democracy, which aims to introduce a general principle of accountability on the internet to secure the protection of human integrity. Dan was elected to the American Law Institute in 2019.

Our Team

Jenni Sargent

CEO 

Jenni Sargent is the managing director of First Draft, a non-profit organization working internationally to address the challenges of information disorder through research, field work and education. Jenni led the formation and launch of First Draft in 2015 and has devised and coordinated a number of its key initiatives including CrossCheck; the first project of its kind to encourage competing newsrooms to collaboratively verify and transparently endorse each other’s work. A specialist in the ethics and processes of online newsgathering and reporting, Jenni manages a team of 40 across offices in London, New York and Sydney.

Claire Wardle, PhD

Co-founder and US Director 

Claire Wardle leads the strategic direction and research for First Draft. In 2009 she left her academic position at Cardiff University to develop an organization wide training program for the BBC on social media, verification and misinformation and has been obsessed with the topic ever since. In 2017 she co-authored the seminal report, Information Disorder: An interdisciplinary Framework for Research and Policy for the Council of Europe. Over the past decade she has been a Fellow at the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School, the Research Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and head of social media for the United Nations Refugee Agency. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ben Sargent

Director 

Ben Sargent has overseen the financial and operational management of First Draft since its inception and is Company Secretary. Prior to that, Ben was a co-founder and director of Digital Skills Network, responsible for operations and business development. Ben started life as a camera engineer for Panavision and graduated to international production management and partner relations, specialising in 35mm motion pictures. A fluent Spanish speaker, Ben takes a lead advisory role in establishing our bureaux around the world.

Aimee Rinehart

Deputy Director 

Aimee managed Comprova, the Brazilian election project in 2018. She serves as project lead on First Draft initiatives and builds strategic partnerships with complementary organizations to support and enhance our work around the world. She started working online in 1996 and was a digital originator at The New York Times. She was an editor at the Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels and upon her return to New York, worked in the communications departments at the American Civil Liberties Union, the Overseas Press Club of America and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She graduated from Indiana University School of Journalism and has an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers-Newark University.

Stephanie Haughton-Campbell

Chief of Staff 

As Chief of Staff, Stephanie is responsible for creating environments where individuals and teams deliver their highest goals. Responsible for driving effectiveness across First Draft's people, processes and projects, Stephanie brings a wealth of organizational and team development experience during a 20 year career - applying structure to creative and idea driven businesses and people. Prior to joining First Draft, Stephanie spent 8 years with Lloyd's Register, latterly as EA to the Executive Vice President supporting the creation and global launch of the external and corporate affairs business function. Beginning her career at major recording label, East West Records, Stephanie has held senior support and project development roles in the creative industries, including commercial music, digital broadcast, advertising and PR. Stephanie has a MA in Music Business Management and is a proud board member of the Brixton Pound - a local community organization.

Emma Dobinson

Global Partnership and Training Director 

Originally from a TV and film production background, Emma has more recently been responsible for implementing successful international media capacity development projects, educational programmes and training practises and procedures. Emma’s previous drama, factual and live event clients include National Geographic, Discovery, BBC Films and Channel 4. With a Masters in Education, Power and Social Change, she has been able to put her creative expertise, production talents and teaching skills to good use in developing countries having assisted women and youth in particular in gaining their own voices through the respective media platforms. Emma recently completed work as Country Director for BBC Media Action’s North Africa office where she governed Libya, Tunisia and Algeria television, social media and training projects with successful regional and national business development and the establishment of effective donor partnerships with organizations including UNESCO, MEPI & the FCO.

Victoria Kwan

Ethics and Standards Editor 

Victoria is the Ethics and Standards Editor, ensuring that First Draft's best practices for responsible, accurate and transparent reporting are implemented across all output. Previously, she worked as a Senior Attorney Editor in Thomson Reuters' legal publishing division and as a law clerk for the Honourable William F. Morse of the Anchorage Superior Court in the Alaska Court System. Victoria is a contributor to SCOTUSblog and the co-creator of several interactive tools that aid legal journalists and educate the public about the Supreme Court of the United States, including SCOTUS Map and SCOTUS Watch. She holds a JD from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar.

Ali Abbas Ahmadi

Social Media Journalist 

Ali investigates information disorder and supports CrossCheck projects from the London office. He has recently completed his Masters in Digital Journalism from Goldsmiths, University of London, and wrote about India and the Middle East for The New Arab before joining First Draft. He has worked as a designer, architect, and instructor in several countries, and studied architecture and conflict resolution for his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto.

Daniel Acosta Ramos

Investigative Researcher, New York 

Daniel is an investigative researcher focused on Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities in the US. Originally from Venezuela, Daniel has worked with independent media outlets and NGOs in collaborative projects to fight misinformation and monitor social unrest in his home country. Before joining First Draft, Daniel worked as a security analyst for Oxy and collaborated with Cotejo.info, Efecto Cocuyo, and Tal Cual.

Sogol Azmoon

Accounts Manager 

Sogol handles First Draft’s accounts and human resources matters. Before coming to First Draft, she worked in accounts and payroll for a variety of firms, and in the hospitality industry. Fluent in Farsi, Sogol also has experience as a TV presenter for an Iranian channel.

Marie Bohner

Global Head of Partnerships 

Marie Bohner manages First Draft’s global partnerships. She started working with First Draft on CrossCheck France in 2017 for the French presidential election. She coordinated the collaboration of media, academic and tech partners on the project. As a French and German citizen, she has assisted First Draft with partner meetings in Germany, France, the UK and at the Council of Europe. She has been working with First Draft’s European partners since March 2019. Marie has managed artistic and cultural events and Human Rights and advocacy related projects in India, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary and Senegal. These range from festivals and conferences to training courses and leadership seminars with said events having been conducted on an intercultural, local and international basis. She has also written for several online and print media organisations as a journalist, in French and English.

Abigail Bowen

Business Analyst 

Abigail is a business analyst, focusing on implementing a project management framework and standardised processes across the business. She will also be assisting the implementation of COVER. Prior to First Draft, she worked as a business analyst for a global insurance company for 8 years.

Sebastien Cubbon

Research Analyst 

Seb is a research reporter with background in economics and international relations research. He reports on disinformation tactics and trends and inauthentic online activity relating to key political events and narratives with a particular focus on French speaking countries (he has the dual nationality British/French). He previously worked on an international disinformation research project at Zinc Network (formerly Breakthrough Media). He has degrees from from King’s College London and the UvA (University of Amsterdam).

Carlotta Dotto

Senior Data Journalist 

Carlotta is a data journalist with a background in philosophy, who will research and report on global information disorder and coordinated networks of amplification for First Draft. She specialises in data-led investigations, multimedia reportage and advanced internet research. She has previously worked with The Times’ Data team and La Repubblica’s Visual Lab, producing investigations on mental health, migration, cybercrime and issues surrounding social justice. She has also written for a number of publications including The Guardian, the BBC and the New Internationalist. She has been nominated for The Information is Beautiful Awards, and won The One World Media production fund.

Paul Doyle

Head of Program Delivery 

Paul Doyle comes from the broadcast television and radio sector where he has worked across a variety of genre, including news and current affairs, as both a Producer and a Director for BBC, Sky, Bloomberg, Virgin Media, Communicorp and RTE. Paul is also a qualified project manager, has an advanced Diploma in Education and Learning and completed a Masters in Digital Media, incorporating Political Communications & Critical PR. With many years' experience leading content development, organizational learning and skills training initiatives, Paul takes that experience into First Draft where he works across all our education tools; overseeing their development and implementation. As Outreach Manager, Paul is responsible for strengthening relationships with newsrooms, academics, publishers and the wider public.

Rachelle Louise Emanuel

Business Administrator 

Rachelle Louise is Business Administrator at First Draft providing administrative and business support to the Operations, Editorial and Finance teams. Before joining, Rachelle provided client relations, lifestyle and project management support to medical executives within the private sector and the NHS as Senior Quality Improvement Manager. Keen to utilise her skills outside of work, Rachelle engages charity outreach initiatives with HRH Queen Diambi of the Luba Tribe of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rachelle graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, University of Roehampton.

MJ Fox

Partnership Co-ordinator 

MJ is part of the Community Engagement team. Before joining First Draft MJ worked in strategic and digital communications for agencies in London and Dublin advising corporations, governmental bodies and brands. She has a degree in Law and Political Science and an MSC. in Business and Management from Trinity College Dublin.

Laura Garcia

Training Manager 

Laura heads First Draft’s training and education across newsrooms and journalism schools. Her work as a multimedia journalist started back in her home, Mexico, as a photographer for a newspaper. She also worked for newspapers and film production companies in the US before coming to the UK in September 2011. Laura has worked in different newsrooms across the UK: ITV Meridian, BBC South East, BBC Radio Kent, NBC News, R4’s The World Tonight and Channel 5 News. Previously she worked as a Lecturer in Television and Multimedia Journalism at the University of Kent, and produced a politics show for KMTV. She is passionate about access into journalism and diversifying the media and co-founded PressPad and the UK chapter of AMMPE World.

Hugh Havard

Client Services Manager 

Hugh is the Community Engagement Manager, responsible for connecting communities and the public with First Draft’s work. He also leads on customer relationship management. Prior to working at First Draft he worked at a number of charities and INGOs, specialising in Customer Experience. He holds a degree in Politics, Philosophy and History and an LLM in Human Rights.

Bethan John

Social Media Journalist 

Bethan is a social media journalist at First Draft in London, investigating information disorder and supporting global CrossCheck projects. After completing a Masters in Digital Journalism at Goldsmiths, she became the Google News Initiative Fellow at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (2019). Prior to this, she worked in the documentary film industry. Bethan also has a degree in German and History from the University of Edinburgh.

Monika Kaminska

Finance & Reporting Manager 

Delwyn King

Business Analyst 

Delwyn is a business analyst responsible for analysing First Draft's business processes, its model and its integration with technology. He guides First Draft in improving processes, products, services and software through data analysis and is currently focusing on the development, implementation and delivery of First Draft’s Cross Check platform. Delwyn initially trained as a lawyer and was called to the bar in 2007.

Anne Kruger

APAC Director 

Anne has recently helped to launch First Draft in Asia-Pacific, overseeing CrossCheck Australia for the 2019 federal elections. Anne has spent most of her career working in Asia, including as an international journalist and anchor at CNN International Hong Kong, Bloomberg TV, Radio Television Hong Kong, and Radio Corporation Singapore. She was anchor and national correspondent for the iconic Australian program Landline, and fill-in co-host for ABC News Breakfast. As an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong, Anne set up the award-winning Cyber News Verification Lab in the wake of Occupy Central, collaborating with verification technologists Meedan. Anne also conducted news literacy courses throughout Asia, consulted for UNESCO Asia, and conducted research projects with Google News Labs partners into the misinformation ecosystem of Asia. She is an assessor at the International Fact-Checking Network (Poynter) and a Google News Initiative trainer. She recently worked as an ABC multi-platform state Chief of Staff, and producer on the National Digital desk at the ABC’s digital headquarters in Brisbane. Anne completed her PhD in social media verification education in January 2019.

Leneli Liggayu

Bureau Assistant, New York 

Leneli is the Bureau Assistant, US. Her background includes work as a litigation paralegal at a mid-size law firm in New York and also as an administrative assistant to the President of a non-profit business league. She holds a Journalism degree from St. John’s University.

Jaime Longoria

Investigative Researcher, New York 

Jaime previously worked as a researcher with NBC News Investigations and was the former data editor for Type Investigations, where he contributed research and reporting on a number of long-form investigations. He was also a community reporter in the South Bronx for the Hunts Point Express.

Chris Looft

Senior Editor, New York 

Chris most recently worked at Dataminr, a real-time information discovery company. He attended New York University's graduate journalism program, during which time he worked as an editor for the Latin America News Dispatch. He has also worked as a researcher in the private sector and for InSight Crime, a non-profit journalism organization focused on organized crime in the Americas.

Lorraine Mclarty

HR Manager  

Lorraine is the HR Manager, overseeing all aspects of the HR practices, policies and processes to support First Draft's growth and to maintain a positive working environment. Lorraine brings 17 years HR experience and has been responsible for Organizational Change, Recruitment and Selection, Learning and Development, Employee Relations and Law and Performance Management. Lorraine has spent the last 11 years at The Salvation Army working in various HR roles ranging from HR Manager to Head of HR Shared Services. Lorraine enjoys building relationships and believes in nurturing a positive working environment. Lorraine has an MA in Personnel and Development and is a Chartered Member of the CIPD.

Jacquelyn Mason

Senior Investigative Researcher, New York  

Jacquelyn is a Senior Investigative Researcher. Previously, she worked as an editor of photography at media service organizations Meredith Corporation and NBC Universal. She holds an MFA from Parsons School of Design with a degree in Art, Media and Technology, as well as a Master of Science from NYU Tandon School of Engineering in Integrated Digital Media.

Lydia Morrish

Social Media Journalist 

Lydia is a multimedia journalist and First Draft’s digital content producer, packaging interactive media around CrossCheck investigations and raising awareness of First Draft’s work across platforms. Previously, she worked at WikiTribune, leading investigations, building communities, hosting workshops and reporting on social issues, politics, digital culture and gender from Finland, New York and corners of Britain. As a freelance journalist, she reported extensively on issues affecting women, including around the aftermath of Ireland’s referendum to legalise abortion, workplace discrimination and sex work activism in the UK. Lydia is also the UK correspondent for NewsMavens and a member of The Second Source, the alternative network for women in the media.

Pedro Noel

Project and Innovation Manager 

Pedro Noel has been working with digital rights since 2011, when he co-founded the Associated Whistleblowing Press, an NGO dedicated to the defense of human rights by the means of transparency, accountability and whistleblowing. As an investigative journalist and advocate, Noel took part in dozens of publications revealing wrongdoing and human rights violations in Spain, Iceland, Peru and Mexico, where he also trained more than 100 journalists in digital and journalistic skills. He was granted the “Orlando Sierra” fellowship of the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Organization of American States and the “Journalists for Transparency” of Transparency International. Before joining First Draft, he was a fact-checking and verification journalist at AFP (Agence France-Presse). Pedro has a background in Philosophy.

Jennifer Panaki

Training Coordinator  

As First Draft's Team Coordinator, Jennifer assists with building relationships with the organization's external stakeholders, coordinating training requests and managing event logistics. Previously, Jennifer worked at Kings College Hospital, Save the Children UK and Goldsmiths University. She holds a degree in Fashion Management and Marketing from the University for the Creative Arts.

Andrew Roberts

Operations Director  

Justin Ross

Operations Manager, New York 

Prior to joining First Draft, Justin served as Director of Administration at the American Securitization Forum (a non-profit trade association), where he oversaw all internal operations. He also managed human resources and administration as Administrative Manager at Vatera Holdings. He holds an MBA from Cass Business School (City, University of London), an MA in economics from Boston College, and a BA in math and economics from Cornell University.

Jack Sargent

Product Manager 

Jack is leading the development of all CrossCheck related technology, including our pioneering collaborative investigation and publishing platform. Trained in Information Technology by Hewlett-Packard, he has a background in digital design, video editing, CGI and animation. A key member of First Draft since its inception, Jack devised and developed all interactive training content and structured our blended learning curriculum. Jack is fluent in Spanish and provides user support to our CrossCheck partners around the world.

Tommy Shane

Head of Impact and Policy 

Tommy Shane previously worked at the UK House of Commons, where he set up and managed the digital content team for select committees. He also worked at Full Fact during the 2017 UK General Election on their digital campaign. His research on social media has been published by Social Media + Society, and in 2017 he was named a global pioneer in digital democracy by Nesta. He holds degrees from the University of Cambridge and King’s College London.

Rory Smith

Research Manager, New York 

Rory is a Senior Investigator at First Draft in London. With a background in data journalism, investigative reporting and international development, he will be looking into the various ways in which disinformation spreads as well as the evolution of disinformation and its myriad global networks. He will also be working with CrossCheck’s partners on more in-depth investigations around disinformation both in a supportive and collaborative role. Before joining First Draft, Rory worked for CNN, Vox, Vice and Truthout, covering various topics from immigration and food policy to politics and organized crime.

Diara J. Townes

Investigative Researcher and Community Engagement, New York 

Diara J. Townes was a marine and environmental scientist, who studies audience engagement, oceanography and climate change. As a social engagement journalism student at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, she built relationships and solutions with leaders and locals in the Rockaways, a beachside peninsula in New York City, following Hurricane Sandy. While interning at CNN, she fact-checked, verified, researched and assisted the Documentary Unit’s productions in public health, climate change and national politics.

Shaydanay Urbani

Partnerships and Programs Manager, New York 

Shaydanay Urbani is First Draft’s Partnerships and Programs Manager in New York, where she covers disinformation and trains journalists internationally in verification and responsible reporting. She has a background in criminal justice reporting, Middle Eastern languages and politics, and food policy. She received her BA from the University of California, Los Angeles and her MA from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in New York.

Maddy Webb

Investigative Researcher, New York 

Maddy is an Investigative Researcher focusing on misinformation. Previously she worked as an abortion rights opposition researcher at Media Matters for America, monitoring anti-abortion organizing on social media. As a researcher with a sociology background, she has worked on a variety of projects, including studying oyster aquaculturists, organizing focus groups of women experiencing intimate partner violence, and interviewing rural farmers in Bhutan.

Matt Wright

Senior Copywriter  

Matt is a senior copywriter with many years spent working in the communications and creative industries. Sitting in our in-house creative team, Matt has a passion for creating magic out of words and communicating in a clear, consistent and inspiring tone.

Guy Grimshaw

Digital Designer 

Guy is a senior digital designer and creates both internal and external designs for and by First Draft. This covers a broad range of materials from article visuals, infographics and reports, right through to website designs. Prior to working at First Draft, Guy worked at design agencies in Amsterdam and London who focus on design for positive change and working with non-profit and 'for good' clients. He has also worked in-house at a global architecture firm where he spent some time in New York.

Yevgeny Kuklychev

Editor, London 

Yevgeny is our London based editor with a focus on the UK, Europe and the CIS region. A Russian native, Yevgeny grew up in the UK where he received his BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Warwick. With over ten years of experience working as a journalist, editor, digital producer and reporter in various industries, from music and entertainment (MTV, Google Music) to news reporting (BBC) and, more recently, economics and finance (FT-owned The Alpha Grid and Bonds & Loans), he has written extensively on the impact of information disorder on the

Jack Berkefeld

Research Reporter, APAC 

Jack is a research reporter for First Draft's APAC bureau based out of Sydney, Australia, where he tracks and investigates online mis and disinformation information trends in the country as well in the broader region. In 2019 he represented First Draft in Indonesia exploring local efforts against misinformation and advised visiting Australian students on writing stories about Indonesia. Jack is a recent graduate from the University of Technology Sydney where he received a BA of Communications (Journalism) and a BA of International Studies through which he learnt Spanish. Jack has experience in fact-checking and investigative work after interning for the ABC's investigative Journalist Unit on their Hidden Campaign project exploring the underhanded tactics of political actors during the 2019 Australian Federal Election.

Stevie Zhang

Research Reporter, APAC 

Stevie is a Research Reporter with First Draft's APAC team. Previously, they were a research assistant at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and edited Farrago, Australia's oldest student publication. Stevie is completing their Master of Journalism at the University of Melbourne, where they previously obtained a BA in Media and Communications and English Literature.

Joe Talboys

Creative Director 

In his role as creative director for the First Draft creative studio, Joe works with a wide range of skillsets to make First Draft’s vital work as impactful and effective as possible. During his career, Joe has created communications for some of the world's most recognized brands including Google, Monocle, IKEA and Paramount Pictures.

Esther Chan

Bureau Editor, APAC  

Esther Chan is the bureau editor (Sydney) of First Draft. Esther started her career in television as an investigative reporter in Hong Kong before moving onto digital journalism at Storyful, a social media news and intelligence agency. As she evolved from a journalist specialised in online newsgathering and the verification of eyewitness content to deputy editor in Hong Kong and news editor in Australia, her work delved deeper into cross-platform, cross-border, multi-lingual coordinated disinformation campaigns. Esther has participated in several editions of Google News Initiatives' news literacy projects, helping trained journalists in the APAC region in identifying threat actors and deepening understanding of the online disinformation landscape. She recently helped launch the Australian branch of Agence France-Presse (AFP)'s Fact Check operation in 2019, and has since been covering social media anomalies and mis/disinformation primarily in Australia, Hong Kong and China, as well as editing and publishing fact-check reports from APAC bureaus operating in more than a dozen languages.

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