Ad Fontes Media, Inc. is a company founded in 2018 by Vanessa Otero, creator of the Media Bias Chart®. The mission of Ad Fontes Media is “to make news consumers smarter and news media better.”
We rate the news for reliability and bias to help people navigate the news landscape. Ad Fontes is Latin for “to the source,” because at the heart of what Ad Fontes Media does is look at the source—analyze the very content itself—to rate it. We have created a system of news content ratings that has beneficial applications for all stakeholders in a healthy news media landscape, including consumers, educators, publishers, researchers, advertisers, and social media platforms.
We currently create our news content ratings with a large team of human analysts who have political views from across the spectrum. They are trained to look at the content of the news and score it according to our methodology. We provide the news source ratings themselves in various data products for consumers, educators, publishers, marketers, and others. We also offer a software platform for educators to teach students how to rate the news themselves and an interactive data visualization software platform for advanced users of our data.
Because we rate the content of news sources themselves, you can find references to the term “content analysis” throughout our website. We are not measuring consumer opinions, clicks and views, or “user engagement.” Plenty of other companies do that in order to sell ads, and we think that is part of the problem we face in the current media landscape. Ad Fontes Media does not sell ads to make money. Rather we seek to positively impact the news landscape itself by transforming the incentives for advertisers in news. We believe news content ratings are key to fixing the way advertisers inadvertently help junk news sources proliferate.
Ad Fontes Media is incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) in Colorado. The stated public benefit of Ad Fontes Media is the same as its mission.
Ad Fontes is currently funded by its founder, by a crowdfunding campaign which ran in late 2018, by sales of licenses, prints, commercial data and software products, commercial content rating services, educational products, and consumer memberships, by donations through this site (not tax-deductible) by individuals who believe in its mission, and by funds raised via an equity crowdfunding investment round in 2020-2021. Any future additional sources of funding will be disclosed on this site and in future annual reports.
Funding for Ad Fontes Media is currently used to fund 1) ongoing analysis of new and existing news sources by our team of analysts, and 2) the continued development of software and technology for improving the Media Bias Chart.
 The difference between a PBC and a regular C-corporation is that a PBC’s shareholders are required to consider the stated public benefit of the corporation in addition to the financial interests of the stakeholders when making business decisions. This is a formation option that has recently become available to companies in most states. A PBC can receive grants and donations, but those are not tax-deductible. It can also sell shares like a C-Corporation. This information about PBCs is not tax or legal advice.