NewsGuard, Now Guarding Podcasts

May 23, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Advertising alongside false or biased information can be bad for a brand’s image, a problem that has obviously escalated in recent years. News vetting service NewsGuard saw a niche and promptly filled it. The firm has provided would-be advertisers with reliability ratings for websites and TV shows since 2018, and now includes podcasts in its appraisals. The company’s PodNews shares the press release, “NewsGuard Launches World’s First Journalist-Vetted Podcast Credibility Ratings to Help Advertisers.”

We learn NewsGuard is working with three top podcast platforms to spread the word to advertisers. The platforms will also use ratings to inform their recommendation engines and moderate content. The write-up explains:

“The podcast ratings include a trust score from 0-10, overall risk level, metadata fields, and a detailed written explanation of the podcast’s content and record of credibility and transparency. The ratings are used by brands and agencies to direct their ad spend toward highly trustworthy, brand-safe news podcasts while being protected from brand-safety and brand-suitability risks inherent in advertising on news and politics content. … NewsGuard determines which news and information podcasts to rate based on factors including reported engagement, estimated ad revenue, and the volume of news and information content in the podcast’s episodes. The podcasts rated by NewsGuard include those that cover topics including politics, current affairs, health, business, and finance. The journalists at NewsGuard assess news and information podcasts based on five journalistic criteria:

  • Does not regularly convey false, unchallenged information: 4 points
  • Conveys news on important topics responsibly: 3 points
  • Is not dominated by one-sided opinion: 1 point
  • Discloses, or does not have, a political agenda: 1 point
  • Differentiates advertising and commercial partnerships from editorial content: 1 point”

The press release shares example scores, or what it calls “Nutrition Labels,” for five podcasts. The top scorer shown is a Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal podcast, which received a 10 out of 10. Interesting. NewsGuard was launched in 2018 by a pair of journalist entrepreneurs and is based in New York City.

Cynthia Murrell, May 23, 2023


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