AI in journalism: Your go-to resource collection

This headline was written by artificial intelligence, but keep scrolling for AI resources compiled by humans

By Hayley Slusser

April 10, 2024

Rob Hyrons / Shutterstock

[This article was originally published in The Lenfest Institute’s Solution Set newsletter. Subscribe here.]

Welcome to the latest edition of the Lenfest Institute’s Solution Set newsletter! This week, we focus on the use of AI in journalism. From streamlining news production to redefining audience engagement, AI presents both challenges and opportunities for newsrooms globally. Join us as we explore innovative tools and strategies shaping the future of journalism. 

Okay, human Hayley here. We asked ChatGPT to write a Solution Set introduction for an AI-themed newsletter, which resulted in the paragraph above. I’m a little biased and think our newsletters written by people sound much better, but the robot didn’t lie: This week, we’re sharing several resources to help you understand the role of AI in your newsroom, including tools to get started, case studies for inspiration, and reports on how the news industry is adapting amidst rapid technological advancements.  

This list is not comprehensive, and we know there is much more to learn when it comes to using AI in newsrooms. As the field continues to evolve, we’ll continue to share resources and best practices about AI, and we’d love your help: Is there a tool you’re using that you love? Has your newsroom embarked on a unique AI experiment? Are there questions we can help you answer? Reply to this email and let us know – we’re planning to share more in future issues of Solution Set.  

Keep scrolling for more on AI, along with some additional news and updates from our Communities of Practice and the broader journalism community. If a friend forwarded you this email, you can subscribe to Solution Set here.  

Getting started 

Start on your AI journey with these three free beginner self-learning courses – Three free courses compiled by the Reynolds Journalism Institute that explain the basics of generative AI. 

AI and journalism: What’s next? – The Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford outlines several ways you may consider using AI in your newsroom, followed by practical tips for implementation. “Coming up with a list of things that your newsroom might be able to do using ChatGPT is fairly easy (Summarisation! Rewriting in a simpler style!). It is much harder to clearly identify exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve with generative AI, why you are trying to achieve it, how you might plausibly achieve it at scale in routine and professionally managed operations, and whether that achievement will even continue to be relevant as AI fundamentally alters the competitive landscape in the coming months and years,” AI researcher David Caswell writes.  

Your newsroom needs an AI ethics policy. Start here. – A template from the Poynter Institute to help you build an AI policy that fits in with your newsrooms existing ethics policies while leaving room for innovation.  

• And ere are some examples of generative AI policies for newsrooms:

• AI outputs are only as good as the human inputs. There is a growing field of recommendations and best practices around how to create the most useful prompts. Here are some tips for creating useful prompts for generative AI tools from:  

Case studies 

AI the news that’s fit to print – Zach Seward, editorial director of AI initiatives at The New York Times, compiled examples of early uses of AI in the news space, including both the good and the bad, for a talk he gave at SXSW in March. 

The Washington Post’s first AI strategy editor talks LLMs in the newsroom – A Nieman Lab Q&A with Phoebe Connelly on how the Post newsroom is creating tools for audiences, finding tools to use internally, and doing so while adhering to ethical standards. 

The Financial Times is ready for its AI to answer your questions (well, some of them) – Nieman Lab looks at “Ask FT,” a new chatbot that answers user questions with information from the Financial Times’s archives.  

San Francisco Chronicle tries an AI chatbot — er, Chowbot — for food recs – Similar to “Ask FT,” the Chronicle launched a chatbot trained on its own food recommendations and guides. The launch came alongside an alongside a Q&A with the paper’s food and wine editor and a more technical explainer

We Asked an AI to Map Our Stories Across NYC  – THE CITY, the nonprofit newsroom that covers New York City, used AI to find the location of all its stories and plot them on a map to determine how well it covers the five boroughs.  

Digital Democracy – A project from CalMatters to track public hearings, political donations, ongoing legislation, and more political issues impacting California. In addition to serving as a tool for the public, it also scans the database to suggest story ideas for reporters. 

2024 Utah Bill Tracker – A partnership between The Salt Lake Tribune and Seer, an AI platform focused on making government more transparent, to track legislation and use AI to simplify each bill’s language and decode what each bill would do if enacted into law.  


Watermarks are Just One of Many Tools Needed for Effective Use of AI in News – A report from the Center for News, Technology and Innovation on how watermarks, disclaimers, and other methods of transparency can help audiences better understand and vet journalism that incorporates AI.  

Generative AI in Journalism: The Evolution of Newswork and Ethics in a Generative Information Ecosystem – A new report from the Associated Press. It includes responses from almost 300 news professionals to better understand generative AI and its use in journalism. About 74% of respondents said their news organizations have begun using generative AI in some capacity.  

Artificial Intelligence in the News: How AI Retools, Rationalizes, and Reshapes Journalism and the Public Arena – A study published by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia examines the impact of AI on the information ecosystem and the reliance of news organizations on technology companies. “The growing use of AI in news work tilts the balance of power toward technology companies, raising concerns about ‘rent’ extraction and potential threats to publishers’ autonomy business models, particularly those reliant on search-driven traffic,” researcher Felix M. Simon writes.  

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