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Ad Fontes Media

We rate news for reliability and bias to help people navigate the news landscape

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Polarizing junk news makes us angry and divided. We're doing something about it and growing 700% YoY
As the producer of the Media Bias Chart, we have organically grown into one of the most recognized and trusted news rating organizations
A news rating company should be independent and owned by people who care deeply about having a healthy information ecosystem and democracy

Our Team

People don't know what news to trust anymore, but what they do know is that polarizing junk news is damaging, and that it makes us angry and divided as a society. By rating the news, we help people navigate the media landscape. Understanding the nature of the news we consume can help us heal our divisions, make better decisions, and move forward.

The Story of Ad Fontes Media

In the run-up to the 2016 election, I thought it was nuts how people would share "news" articles that were loose with the facts and really biased. 

I created a chart of the news and put it on the internet.

In my profession as a patent attorney, I explain complicated things through words and pictures and find the pictures are often the most helpful. I thought up a way to map the news sources out there visually, from best to worst, and left to right. As a hobby, I made this first Media Bias Chart to talk to my friends about news and politics on Facebook. It went super viral, launching conversations, copycats, criticism, and praise from all corners.

People wanted more!

I got inquiries from people all across the internet. They mostly wanted three things: 1) more sources, 2) more features, and 3) good underlying data. People were using it in classrooms and publishing it in textbooks, so I felt a responsibility to make it better. I wanted to make it more rigorous and minimize the effects of my own bias. I knew I needed some help from a team. So in September 2018 I launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to improve the Media Bias Chart and we raised over $32,000! 

With that funding, we created a system and software to do news content ratings and more.

We conducted a large multi-analyst ratings project to rate thousands of articles, developed software to collect, weight, and display our ratings, and created an educational SaaS platform to teach news literacy in schools. 

As a result, our current interactive and static Media Bias Charts are used in thousands of classrooms across the country, and our recently launched CART News Literacy platform is gaining traction because of the popularity of the Media Bias Chart as a teaching tool.

Now we need to meet the growing demand for news content ratings

Since we've successfully figured out a way to rate news content, publishers, news aggregators, researchers, and more are coming to us asking for more content ratings. The applications for using them to improve our news ecosystem are endless. 

Social media companies can integrate them into their news feeds; publishers can use them to promote trust in their content; advertisers can use them to filter out advertising purchases on junk news sites, and researchers can use them to study the effects of news consumption.

So far, having rated just a fraction of the news landscape, we've become a trusted, independent, third-party resource, with our work having been cited by The Economist, The New Yorker, and others.

But we have only been able to scratch the surface of the number of news content ratings we want to do, and the only product we've had for most of our existence is a license to use the Media Bias Chart. With that alone, we've still bootstrapped enough revenue to keep us growing, with over 1800 paying customers to date. We're tiny compared to where we can be.

Our next goal is to rate 3,000 news sources. You can help us get there.

This volume of rated news sources will greatly expand the usefulness and commercial value of our ratings. It will also help us progress on developing a human-AI hybrid model for rating news sources on-demand and at scale. Imagine if every story on your social media feed could show you its Media Bias Chart rating instantly. It could transform the choices people make about their news consumption and ultimately, how we relate to each other as citizens.