How frameworks can help guide your newsroom’s use of AI

The Financial Times has launched a generative AI chatbot that answers paid subscribers’ questions based on information pulled from the outlet’s archives. The tool, AskFT, is in beta mode and all responses and user feedback are being tracked by The Financial Times, writeThe Verge’s Emma Roth and Quentyn Kennemer, who note that this chatbot is much more accurate than a similar one released last year by the owners of Macworld, PCWorld and Tech Advisor.

Google, too, is pushing a generative AI product for newsrooms, enabling reporters to input a source and produce a first draft. It’s intended for simple write-ups as well as email campaigns, but it’s unclear what newsrooms might be testing it or the type of publications that will use the tool when it goes public, writes Alex Kantrowitz.

As AI tools become more ubiquitous, news outlets may feel that it’s time to establish some frameworks to measure how they use — and don’t use — artificial intelligence (if they haven’t already). American Press Institute’s Elite Truong suggests creating a success metric to make sure you’re getting something out of using an AI tool. And while we wait for the use of AI to become more standardized, news outlets must establish committees that will write AI ethics policies, writes Poynter’s Kelly McBride. The policies should address audience-facing, business, and back-end reporting assistance AI use cases — Poynter offers a template for a basic AI ethics policy.

News In Focus
Headlines, resources and events aligned with API’s four areas of focus.

Civic Discourse & Democracy

+ Hire fact checkers to fight election fake news, EU tells tech firms (The Guardian)

The European Union’s Digital Services Act will require social media platforms including TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and X to establish fact checking teams with collective knowledge of 24 EU languages to stop misinformation and interference ahead of European parliamentary elections.

+ Inside media’s 12 splintering realities (Axios)

America has splintered into a dozen news bubbles based on socioeconomic factors, write Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, affecting where people get their news, whom they trust and the topics and figures they follow. This fractured media landscape makes the influence of both traditional media and social media less powerful — and public opinion harder to measure.

+ Join us tomorrow at 1 p.m. Eastern: Webinar: AI, misinformation and other threats in the 2024 elections

Reporters from The Associated Press will discuss issues surrounding this year’s elections, including tackling misinformation, the use of AI to mislead voters, the effects of conspiracy theories on local elections, security vulnerabilities and foreign interference, and threats faced by election workers. Due to the popularity of the event, we have added additional registration spots. Sign up here.

Culture & Inclusion

+ How to build an advisory committee for your journalism career (National Press Foundation)

Michael Bolden, API’s CEO and executive director, shared how having a personal advisory committee can help with career growth and pivots. A personal committee should include a diverse range of people within and outside the news industry who will change with you.

+ Race and leadership in the news media 2024: Evidence from five markets (Reuters Institute)

In a sample of 100 major news outlets in Brazil, Germany, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S., 23% of the 75 top editors are people of color — and when South Africa is removed from the tally, it drops to 9%. In every country, the percentage of top editors of color remains below the nationwide percentage of people of color. The data also shows stagnation in growth of diverse leadership compared to previous years.

Community Engagement & Trust

+ Respecting the tortured voice and troubled choices of the mentally ill (Nieman Storyboard)

Ellen Barry covers mental illness for The New York Times and recently wrote a profile of a mentally ill man who lived in a tent, how his family struggled with the situation and the policies that can result in these situations. She detailed for Chip Scanlan how she wrote the story, including spending significant time with the subjects to capture and reflect their states of mind.

+ Trust Tip: Use viral photos as a chance to explain visuals (Trusting News)

When photos go viral, people tend to question whether they’re real. That’s an opportunity for news outlets to explain their ethics behind visuals and build trust in the process. It’s also a good time to share your public-facing photo policies, or draft a policy if you don’t have one.

Revenue & Resilience

+ Don’t feel like subscribing? 12 examples of alternatives to increase ARPU (The Audiencers)

Some people don’t want to deal with subscriptions, but one-time micropayments have not proven to be a reliable source of revenue in the journalism industry. Lennart Schneider points to successful alternative revenue approaches from other industries, from monthly passes to in-app purchases, that boost the ​​average revenue per user.

+ New from API: How the Bangor Daily News used e-commerce as an unexpected tool for community service (Better News)

The Bangor Daily News details how it launched a merch store that includes partnerships with local artists, small businesses and nonprofits. It aims for all products to have a 25-35% profit margin built into the sales price and is experimenting with using the store as a fundraising platform, too.

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