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Can ChatGPT Write the News?  Journalists Ponder the Impact of Artificial Intelligence

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Above image credit: Image generated using DALL-E, an artificial intelligence software, from the prompt: a drawing of people in suits with computers instead of heads.
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1 minute read

The latest wave of technological change is crashing onto the shores of journalism. Brace yourselves for incoming bots such as ChatGPT.

“We are at what I would call the third wave. The first being on the web. The second being social media and smartphones. This third is AI (artificial intelligence),” said Aimee Rinehart, program manager for the Associated Press Local News AI Initiative

Last year the AP released a report on newsroom readiness to integrate AI, which it defines as, “a range of technologies that are human-designed to automate, accelerate or extend the human work required for specific tasks.”

Preparedness varied across newsrooms. Concerns about integrating AI into journalism included: 

  • A lack of staff able to research AI uses and teach others in the newsroom how to use the services.  
  • Financial capacity to implement AI technology. 
  • Ability of newsroom staff to learn and adapt to the technology.    

The survey also interviewed newsrooms across the country and found that folks wanted AI integration to be easy to learn and not autonomous. They wanted humans to have the final say on what gets published. They also worried about AI’s ability to discern disinformation and protect sources and sensitive information. 

As journalists and local newsrooms find themselves at the crest of this third wave, there are a lot of questions.  

Can an AI bot such as ChatGPT write better than me? How can we ensure fair, accurate journalism and utilize AI efficiently in the news gathering process?  

“My hope is rather than rejecting it and waiting until it goes away, that newsrooms, and people working in newsrooms at every level, think about, ‘How could we use this and how should we never use this?’” Rinehart said. 

Flatland decided to test it out. Watch here:


Flatland on YouTube


Cami Koons covers rural affairs for Kansas City PBS in cooperation with Report for America. The work of our Report for America corps members is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. 

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