Scooped by AI

“I’m not talking about computer-generated stories about earthquakes, earnings reports, or sports scores. These will be stories on your beat, written by humans who understand how to use machine learning to aid their reporting.”

In 2018, you will be scooped by a reporter using artificial intelligence.

Four years ago, ProPublica’s Scott Klein predicted “you will be scooped by a reporter who knows how to program.” And you were.

In the months ahead, some of those journo-programmers — and probably some grad students looking for strong, unique projects — will break big stories using machine learning. These will be important truths and facts invisible to humans alone.

I’m not talking about computer-generated stories about earthquakes, earnings reports, or sports scores. These will be stories on your beat, written by humans who understand how to use machine learning to aid their reporting.

It’s already happening:

  • ProPublica’s Jeremy Merrill used machine learning to detect the issues uniquely important to each member of Congress.
  • BuzzFeed News’s Peter Aldhous, Christian Stork, and Charles Seife used machine learning to identify surveillance aircraft run by the U.S. Marshals and military contractors.
  • The Atlantic’s Andrew McGill used machine learning to figure out whether Donald Trump is writing his own tweets.

Over the past year, conversations around AI and journalism often ventured into worries about artificial intelligence being deployed to replace reporters. But in the new year, we’ll be talking about how often reporters deployed artificial intelligence to land big stories.

John Keefe is a developer in the Quartz Bot Studio.

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Burt Herman   Things get real

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Errin Haines   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Paul Ford   Go global

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Jake Levine   The return to now

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized