About
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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.

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.

In 2019 First Draft became an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit. It is operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, and raises its own funding.

In the same year, 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.

Our 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.

Founding Organizations

Funding Organizations

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
Rita Allen Foundation
Swiss Democracy Fund
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].

Work With Us

First Draft is built on the principle of collaboration. Since our inception, we have worked with newsrooms, organisations and communities working on the frontlines of tackling information disorder.

If you are interested in training by First Draft, contact [email protected]

If you are interested in partnering with us on any projects or opportunities to outsmart false and misleading information, we would love to hear from you. Please contact [email protected]

If you want to be updated regularly about our resources and editorial work, subscribe to our briefings

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.

Statement of Independence

First Draft is a non-partisan organization. It has no political affiliation, and does not accept funding from 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, particularly at a critical moment when our information ecosystem is saturated with health and science misinformation. 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 speak with governments interested in learning more about ways to implement First Draft’s recommendations regarding health and science misinformation. Please contact us at [email protected].
  • We do not speak with governments regarding election misinformation.
  • 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. 

Impact reports

2021

2020

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

Board

First Draft’s work in the US is managed through a 501(c)(3) organization, First Draft News Inc., which is overseen by a Board of Directors.

Anusha Alikhan, Vice President of Communications, Wikimedia Foundation

Anusha Alikhan is a strategic communications professional with a diverse background in the nonprofit sector, as well as journalism and law.  Prior to joining the Wikimedia Foundation, she was communications director for Knight Foundation, where she worked across the foundation’s focus areas – journalism, communities, arts, learning – as a thought partner and strategy developer. 

Anusha serves on the board of The Communications Network and Awesome Foundation Miami and is a member of the Communications Network working group for diversity, equity and inclusion. She has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, a law degree from Queen’s University in Ontario and an honors bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto. 

Daniel Bramatti, Editor, Estadão Verifica

Daniel Bramatti is a former president of the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji). In 2018, he helped First Draft to create Comprova, a collaborative journalism project that fights misinformation in Brazil. Currently, he serves as editor of Estadão Verifica, the fact-checking unit of O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

Arnold Brown, Shareholder, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt PC

Arnold Brown is a global technology industry governance specialist and practicing attorney with Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt, representing dozens of international technology standards initiatives, open source organizations and tech startups. He is a former licensing executive and in-house general counsel for semiconductor companies and former Chairman of the HDMI Forum. He has served on the board of the literary magazine, Zyzzyva, and currently serves on the advisory board of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. He holds degrees from Harvard University and Berkeley Law.

Paul Cheung, CEO, The Center for Public Integrity

Paul Cheung leads The Center for Public Integrity as CEO to reverse the effects of inequalities with investigative journalism. Previously, he managed a multimillion-dollar investment portfolio at the Knight Foundation to scale the use of artificial intelligence, improve business sustainability solutions, and combat misinformation. Cheung has 20 years of experience in leading digital transformation and led cross-functional teams of journalists, technologists, data scientists and designers at media outlets including NBC News Digital, The Associated Press, the Miami Herald and The Wall Street Journal.

Angela Matusik, Head of Corporate Brand, Content and Creative, HP

Angela Matusik is HP’s head of corporate brand, content and creative with over 25 years of experience creating stories for global audiences. At HP, she oversees the tech leader’s corporate brand voice, identity, and master narrative. She leads a team of brand journalists that works with media and agency partners to bring stories of technology, innovation, impact, and creativity to life in digital, print, and films.

Prior to joining the tech industry at HP, Matusik developed brand content for entertainment, media, and fashion companies big and small, including Focus Features, Global Brand Group, Olivela, and more. She brings over two decades of media experience to the table, after working as an editor, writer, and digital leader at brands like People, InStyle and NBCUniversal. Matusik has a BS from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, and has taught digital media at New York University. She serves on the advisory board of Brand Storytelling, and at HP’s nonprofit foundation, HP Life.

Lynn Scheid, Producer and Journalist

Lynn Scheid is a former journalist and news producer who has extensive experience producing breaking news coverage across multiple countries. He has covered war, global politics and entertainment, working on some of the most iconic television shows in American history, including “Larry King Live,” “60 Minutes” and “America’s Most Wanted.”

He has amassed decades of experience in the NGO sector, where he has managed global projects for some of the world’s leading nonprofits. He has worked with USAID, the Carnegie Foundation and the Ford Foundation, among others. He is a fierce advocate for journalistic integrity and eradicating misinformation.

Our Team

Claire Wardle, PhD

Co-founder and Executive 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.

Justin Ross

Operations Director, 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.

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.

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.

Kaylin Dodson

Investigative Researcher, New York 

Kaylin is an Investigative Researcher focused on misinformation affecting Black and Brown communities. She previously has done freelance writing and research for The Guardian, Medium, and Vice. Kaylin received her BA in Journalism + Design from The New School in 2020.

Keenan Chen

Investigative Researcher, New York 

Keenan is based in First Draft’s New York bureau and reports on disinformation activities both inside and outside of the United States. Previously, he was an investigative fellow at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Cross-Borders Data Project, and researched on transnational money laundering activities and the real estate industry in New York City. He has contributed reporting and research to The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, ProPublica and The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Keenan holds a MS in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a BS in journalism and political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese.

Leneli Liggayu

Development Associate, New York 

Leneli is the Development Associate, 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.

Lorraine Broertjes

Associate Editor, New York 

Before becoming Associate Editor at First Draft, Lorraine spent more than 35 years as an editor at two major daily newspapers in South Florida. She has worked in news, sports and as a digital producer. She was a member of the Miami Herald staff that won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for public service for its coverage of Hurricane Andrew.

Lucinda Beaman

Senior Researcher, Sydney 

Lucinda Beaman is a senior researcher in First Draft’s Sydney bureau, where she monitors and reports on information disorder in the Asia Pacific region. Lucinda has a strong track record in monitoring and correcting mis- and disinformation, having been FactCheck Editor at The Conversation, and Sydney Editor at RMIT ABC Fact Check with Australia’s national broadcaster. In those roles, she worked with experts to correct misleading information at the heart of national policy debates and election campaigns. As an online journalist for The Times of London Sydney bureau, Lucinda edited major breaking regional and foreign news. She began her career reporting on financial services, including the Global Financial Crisis, and as a video producer and presenter. Lucinda is an experienced public speaker and has been recognised for leadership and editorial innovation in newsrooms.

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.

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.

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 has recently completed their Master of Journalism at the University of Melbourne, where they previously obtained a BA in Media and Communications and English Literature.

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