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The Reality of Applying AI in Newsrooms, with Joe Amditis

Generative AI can't write articles reliably, but there's still a lot it can do to help reporters.

Yes, we know generative AI is bad for writing articles whole-cloth. But what IS it good for when you want to apply AI in a newsroom?

In this week's episode of The Media Copilot podcast, host Pete Pachal explores that question Joe Amditis, Associate Director of Operations at the Center for Cooperative Media. As part of his role, Joe researches how journalists can apply generative AI, both at the individual and organization levels, and has written guides on publicly available tools, including how to create custom GPTs for reporting use cases.

Joe's advice to those new to using AI for journalism? Experiment. Journalists need to use AI to understand its capabilities and limitations, and should focus on low-stakes tasks initially. Once they're comfortable with the technology, some of the most useful applications he suggests are:

  • Documentation and transcription

  • Brainstorming ideas on why people should care about a story

  • Filtering through data and documents to surface potential leads

  • Generating stock images and graphics to accompany articles

The key takeaway: Use AI tools pragmatically to gain efficiency in workflows, but don’t lose sight of the human element and relationships at the core of journalism. As long as journalists don't lose sight of creating quality, valuable content for their communities, they'll be able to find ways AI can help move faster toward that goal.

Learn AI Before It Takes Your Job

For those with busy schedules we offer a one-hour Beginning AI for Marketers, PR, and Journalists (March 21): a crash course meant to rapidly bring novices up to speed on using generative tools. Even if you think you know the basics of ChatGPT and other chatbots already, this class will improve your use of it with a focus on advanced prompting techniques, underutilized features, and a set of go-to tools for speeding up work.


We need your input for the Centaur Manifesto

Pete and I are working on a set of rules, a manifesto as it were, about AI and writing. We want to publish it as a something akin to the original Cluetrain Manifesto. It will contain a series of sections about how to ethically use AI, AI-generated art, and what AI companies need to remember when scouring the Internet for data. In short, we creatives need to plant our flag and take back control of this runaway technology.

We’d love your help. If you’d like to add a thought or two, please head over to this open Google Doc. It can me an immutable law, a rant, or even how you use AI in your own writing. Imagine you’re going to use this to teach future journalists and writers how to do their jobs in this changing environment.

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The Media Copilot
The Media Copilot
Weekly converatsions with journalists, media executives, and fascinating people on how AI is changing media, journalism, and the news.