First Draft Joins the Shorenstein Center at Harvard Kennedy School

First Draft Joins the Shorenstein Center at Harvard Kennedy School

October 3, 2017, 8:40 am

CAMBRIDGE, MA—The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, based at Harvard Kennedy School, announces that First Draft, an initiative that works to fight mis- and disinformation around the globe, will move to the Shorenstein Center.  The Center is grateful to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation for their support of this initiative.

First Draft is a research and learning lab with a network of more than 100 organizations to help newsrooms, scholars, fact-checkers and technology companies collaborate and encourage real-time verification of information.  The lab will bring together a team of researchers and graduate students who will track and test different ways of responding to misleading, manipulated and fabricated information. It will develop online resources for students, newsrooms and citizens to recognize and combat mis- and disinformation.

Nicco Mele, director of the Shorenstein Center, said, “We are delighted to welcome Claire Wardle and First Draft to the Shorenstein Center. The challenges of global information pollution are legion, and we are eager to build on the existing work of First Draft to create an authoritative approach to combating mis- and disinformation through new research projects and partnerships with newsrooms and tech platforms.”

Claire Wardle will join the Shorenstein Center as a research fellow and will continue to lead First Draft. Wardle has been studying the intersection of social networks, technology and news since 2007. She earned a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on political communication and journalism studies. Wardle said, “With elections being a prime target for agents who create and spread disinformation, partnering with a research center that focuses on the intersection of media, politics and technology is a natural fit.”

About First Draft News
First Draft, a coalition of organizations first brought together by the Google News Lab in 2015, works across the journalism and technology sectors to raise awareness and address challenges relating to trust and truth in the digital age. The coalition has focused on coordinating efforts between newsrooms, fact-checking organizations, and academic institutions to combat mis- and disinformation. First Draft facilitated the CrossCheck project for the 2017 French presidential election, a bilingual fact-checking collaboration with 37 newsroom partners. Participating newsrooms “cross-checked” each other, debunking around 60 questionable stories. Throughout the process, CrossCheck also identified rising mis- and disinformation and crafted successful ways of deterring the spread of misleading and fabricated content. Most recently, First Draft adapted the model to monitor information circulating online around the UK general election in June 2017 and the recent German election. For more information, visit

About the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
The Shorenstein Center is a research center based at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with a mission to study and analyze the power of media and technology and its impact on governance, public policy, and politics. Research, courses, fellowships, public events, and engagement with students, scholars, and journalists form the core of the Center. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Nilagia McCoy: 617-495-2233,
Communications Director, Shorenstein Center