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About

First Draft is an organisation dedicated to supporting journalists, academics and technologists working to address challenges relating to trust and truth in the digital age.

We host a global verification and collaborative investigation network through our CrossCheck International initiative, work in partnership with our expanding community to conduct innovative and experimental research projects, and continuously develop online and offline training designed to expand and embed best practices in newsrooms and journalism schools around the world.

With a firm focus on tackling information disorder, First Draft is building on its pioneering work around elections in the US, France, UK, Germany, Brazil and Nigeria. In 2019, we will support the development of sustainable, collaborative efforts in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay, plus a cross-border project to investigate misinformation tactics and trends in Europe.

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 organisations.

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 now operates as an independent entity with headquarters in London and a New York bureau housed at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

We are currently recruiting in both locations. Apply now on our ‘Opportunities’ page.

Partner Network

The First Draft Partner Network includes some of the largest news organisations 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.

Partner Network

Founding

Core

Academic & Research

Technology

We are a non-profit

First Draft is administered as a company limited by guarantee in the UK, and is in the process of officially incorporating a sub-division non-profit 501c3 organization in the US. We welcome offers of additional sponsorship (either financial or in-kind) from any organisation keen to support a related project or event.

As a Founding Partner, Google News Initiative continues to support the work of First Draft. We are also grateful to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, News Integrity Initiative at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, Open Society Foundations, Omidyar Network, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Rita Allen Foundation for their grants and donations. We have also received financial support from the Facebook Journalism Project and Twitter.

Ethics Policy

Operational and editorial decisions are not influenced by funding partnerships, personal interest or the potential gain of any entities involved in or related to First Draft.

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 Cook
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

 

Our Team

Claire Wardle, PhD
Executive Chair
Claire leads the strategic direction and research for First Draft and is the co-founder of one of First Draft’s founding partners, Eyewitness Media Hub. Before First Draft, she was the Research Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was also head of social media for the United Nations Refugee Agency and Director of News Services for Storyful. She is one of the world’s experts on user-generated content, and has led substantial research projects—with an emphasis on qualitative research methodologies—investigating how UGC is handled by news organizations. She was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Information and Entertainment. She holds a PhD in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jenni Sargent
Managing Director
Jenni led the formation and launch of First Draft and devised and coordinated a number of its key initiatives including the International Partner Network and CrossCheck France; the first project of its kind to encourage competing newsrooms to collaboratively verify and transparently endorse each other’s work. Building on those experiences, Jenni developed the methodology and technology for CrossCheck International, a cross-border collaborative network built around a bespoke training and investigations platform.   

Aimee Rinehart
Partnerships and Development Director
Aimee managed Comprova, the Brazilian election project in 2018. She serves as project lead on First Draft initiatives and builds partnerships with organisations. 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.

Stay in Touch

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