Is this an AI newsroom?

“We may see a kind of simple report card or badging system on news articles indicating the degree or role that AI and humans played in creation.”

Public trust in journalism will require clear disclosure when newsrooms use text-generating AI tools like GPT-3. At first, outlets that use AI tools will be seen by the public as a binary: Either this is a publication that publishes AI-generated news articles, or it isn’t. We’ll also see a debate on which topics make the use of AI tools unacceptable for reporting, versus those where an AI tool might be the best first source for rapid coverage.

These debates exist within certain beats already, but the evolving sophistication of how the public understands issues like media manipulation will eventually inspire demand for transparency in who or what wrote the news.

New safeguards and content moderation practices will be developed to account for the vulnerabilities and terrifying abusability of AI text generators. Editorial practices will evolve to weigh human contributions against that of an AI system, balancing issues such as accuracy, speed, reliability, data sources, and name brand. And after an “AI-content-bad/human-content-good” morality play, those newsrooms resourced to explore these complex tools will recognize and begin to adapt to their pitfalls and tradeoffs.

Newsroom leadership will particularly need to rapidly learn how AI is integrated with human creativity, labor, and existing norms, a set of practices known as “repairing innovation.”

We may see a kind of simple report card or badging system on news articles indicating the degree or role that AI and humans played in creation. Crucially, both newsrooms and news consumers will come to understand an “accountability shorthand” around the use of AI text generators, a new layer in the formulation of trust — or distrust — in media by the general public that, over time, newsrooms will be obligated to communicate to their readers.

Janet Haven and Sam Hinds are executive director and director of creative strategy, respectively, of Data & Society.

Public trust in journalism will require clear disclosure when newsrooms use text-generating AI tools like GPT-3. At first, outlets that use AI tools will be seen by the public as a binary: Either this is a publication that publishes AI-generated news articles, or it isn’t. We’ll also see a debate on which topics make the use of AI tools unacceptable for reporting, versus those where an AI tool might be the best first source for rapid coverage.

These debates exist within certain beats already, but the evolving sophistication of how the public understands issues like media manipulation will eventually inspire demand for transparency in who or what wrote the news.

New safeguards and content moderation practices will be developed to account for the vulnerabilities and terrifying abusability of AI text generators. Editorial practices will evolve to weigh human contributions against that of an AI system, balancing issues such as accuracy, speed, reliability, data sources, and name brand. And after an “AI-content-bad/human-content-good” morality play, those newsrooms resourced to explore these complex tools will recognize and begin to adapt to their pitfalls and tradeoffs.

Newsroom leadership will particularly need to rapidly learn how AI is integrated with human creativity, labor, and existing norms, a set of practices known as “repairing innovation.”

We may see a kind of simple report card or badging system on news articles indicating the degree or role that AI and humans played in creation. Crucially, both newsrooms and news consumers will come to understand an “accountability shorthand” around the use of AI text generators, a new layer in the formulation of trust — or distrust — in media by the general public that, over time, newsrooms will be obligated to communicate to their readers.

Janet Haven and Sam Hinds are executive director and director of creative strategy, respectively, of Data & Society.

Juleyka Lantigua   The download, podcasting’s metric king, gets dethroned

Whitney Phillips   Facts are an insufficient response to falsehoods

Sue Cross   A global consensus around the kind of news we need to save

Jeremy Gilbert   Human-centered journalism

Benjamin Toff   Beltway reporting gets normal again, for better and for worse

Mike Ananny   Toward better tech journalism

Renée Kaplan   Falling in love with your subscription

Cherian George   Enter the lamb warriors

Masuma Ahuja   We’ll remember how interconnected our world is

Matt Skibinski   Misinformation won’t stop unless we stop it

Sonali Prasad   Making disaster journalism that cuts through the noise

Cindy Royal   J-school grads maintain their optimism and adaptability

Astead W. Herndon   The Trump-sized window of the media caring about race closes again

Garance Franke-Ruta   Rebundling content, rebuilding connections

Sara M. Watson   Return of the RSS reader

Heidi Tworek   A year of news mocktails

Natalie Meade   Journalism enters rehab

Ariel Zirulnick   Local newsrooms question their paywalls

Beena Raghavendran   Journalism gets fused with art

Mark S. Luckie   Newsrooms and streaming services get cozy

Jean Friedman-Rudovsky and Cassie Haynes   A shift from conversation to action

Gonzalo del Peon   Collaborations expand from newsrooms to the business side

Julia B. Chan and Kim Bui   Millennials are ready to run things

Kristen Muller   Engaged journalism scales

Jennifer Brandel   A sneak peak at power mapping, 2073’s top innovation

John Ketchum   More journalists of color become newsroom founders

Pia Frey   Building growth through tastemakers and their communities

Brian Moritz   The year sports journalism changes for good

John Garrett   A surprisingly good year

Burt Herman   Journalists build post-Facebook digital communities

Alyssa Zeisler   Holistic medicine for journalism

Pablo Boczkowski   Audiences have revolted. Will newsrooms adapt?

Rick Berke   Virtual events are here to stay

Rishad Patel   From direct-to-consumer to direct-to-believers

David Chavern   Local video finally gets momentum

Francesco Zaffarano   The year we ask the audience what it needs

David Skok   A pandemic-prompted wave of consolidation

Ståle Grut   Network analysis enters the journalism toolbox

Julia Angwin   Show your (computational) work

Matt DeRienzo   Citizen truth brigades steer us back toward reality

Patrick Butler   Covid-19 reporting has prepared us for cross-border collaboration

Chase Davis   The year we look beyond The Story

Ray Soto   The news gets spatial

Logan Jaffe   History as a reporting tool

Bo Hee Kim   Newsrooms create an intentional and collaborative culture

Candis Callison   Calling it a crisis isn’t enough (if it ever was)

Anna Nirmala   Local news orgs grasp the urgency of community roots

Hadjar Benmiloud   Get representative, or die trying

Jonas Kaiser   Toward a wehrhafte journalism

Basile Simon   Graphics, unite

Tamar Charney   Public radio has a midlife crisis

Marissa Evans   Putting community trauma into context

Zainab Khan   From understanding to feeling

Andrew Ramsammy   Stop being polite and start getting real

Mark Stenberg   The rise of the journalist-influencer

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   Stop pretending publishers are a united front

Christoph Mergerson   Black Americans will demand more from journalism

Chicas Poderosas   More voices mean better information

María Sánchez Díez   Traffic will plummet — and it’ll be ok

Jim Friedlich   A newspaper renaissance reached by stopping the presses

Shaydanay Urbani and Nancy Watzman   Local collaboration is key to slowing misinformation

Colleen Shalby   The definition of good journalism shifts

Edward Roussel   Tech companies get aggressive in local

Jessica Clark   News becomes plural

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting dodged a bullet in 2020, but 2021 will be harder

Rachel Glickhouse   Journalists will be kinder to each other — and to themselves

Nisha Chittal   The year we stop pivoting

Ashton Lattimore   Remote work helps level the playing field in an insular industry

Mandy Jenkins   You build trust by helping your readers

Raney Aronson-Rath   To get past information divides, we need to understand them first

Janet Haven and Sam Hinds   Is this an AI newsroom?

Celeste Headlee   The rise of radical newsroom transparency

Tim Carmody   Spotify will make big waves in video

John Davidow   Reflect and repent

Ernie Smith   Entrepreneurship on rails

Cory Bergman   The year after a thousand earthquakes

Jennifer Choi   What have we done for you lately?

Zizi Papacharissi   The year we rebuild the infrastructure of truth

Delia Cai   Subscriptions start working for the middle

Parker Molloy   The press will risk elevating a Shadow President Trump

José Zamora   Walking the talk on diversity

Don Day   Business first, journalism second

Alfred Hermida and Oscar Westlund   The virus ups data journalism’s game

Nonny de la Pena   News reaches the third dimension

Jacqué Palmer   The rise of the plain-text email newsletter

Catalina Albeanu   Publish less, listen more

Amara Aguilar   Journalism schools emphasize listening

Nico Gendron   Ask your readers to help build your products

Gabe Schneider   Another year of empty promises on diversity

Nabiha Syed   Newsrooms quit their toxic relationships

Talmon Joseph Smith   The media rejects deficit hawkery

Jesse Holcomb   Genre erosion in nonprofit journalism

Nikki Usher   Don’t expect an antitrust dividend for the media

J. Siguru Wahutu   Journalists still wrongly think the U.S. is different

Nicholas Jackson   Blogging is back, but better

AX Mina   2020 isn’t a black swan — it’s a yellow canary

Ryan Kellett   The bundle gets bundled

Errin Haines   Let’s normalize women’s leadership

Hossein Derakhshan   Mass personalization of truth

Rodney Gibbs   Zooming beyond talking heads

Marcus Mabry   News orgs adapt to a post-Trump world (with Trump still in it)

Joanne McNeil   Newsrooms push back against Ivy League cronyism

C.W. Anderson   Journalism changed under Trump — will it keep changing under Biden?

Sarah Stonbely   Videoconferencing brings more geographic diversity

Tauhid Chappell and Mike Rispoli   Defund the crime beat

Aaron Foley   Diversity gains haven’t shown up in local news

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, a push for pluralism

Joshua P. Darr   Legislatures will tackle the local news crisis

Michael W. Wagner   Fractured democracy, fractured journalism

Imaeyen Ibanga   Journalism gets unmasked

Francesca Tripodi   Don’t expect breaking up Google and Facebook to solve our information woes

M. Scott Havens   Traditional pay TV will embrace the disruption

Alicia Bell and Simon Galperin   Media reparations now

Stefanie Murray and Anthony Advincula   Expect to see more translations and non-English content

Mariano Blejman   It’s time to challenge autocompleted journalism

Cory Haik   Be essential

Laura E. Davis   The focus turns to newsroom leaders for lasting change

Linda Solomon Wood   Canada steps up for journalism

Charo Henríquez   A new path to leadership

Danielle C. Belton   A decimated media rededicates itself to truth

Steve Henn   Has independent podcasting peaked?

Marie Shanahan   Journalism schools stop perpetuating the status quo

Kerri Hoffman   Protecting podcasting’s open ecosystem

A.J. Bauer   The year of MAGAcal thinking

Kate Myers   My son will join every Zoom call in our industry

Andrew Donohue   The rise of the democracy beat

Kevin D. Grant   Parachute journalism goes away for good

Doris Truong   Indigenous issues get long-overdue mainstream coverage

Victor Pickard   The commercial era for local journalism is over

Tonya Mosley   True equity means ownership

Jody Brannon   People won’t renew

Megan McCarthy   Readers embrace a low-information diet

Meredith D. Clark   The year journalism starts paying reparations

Sumi Aggarwal   News literacy programs aren’t child’s play

Taylor Lorenz   Journalists will learn influencing isn’t easy

Richard Tofel   Less on politics, more on how government works (or doesn’t)

Samantha Ragland   The year of journalists taking initiative

Ben Collins   We need to learn how to talk to (and about) accidental conspiracists

Sarah Marshall   The year audiences need extra cheer

Ariane Bernard   Going solo is still only a path for the few

Mike Caulfield   2021’s misinformation will look a lot like 2020’s (and 2019’s, and…)

Tanya Cordrey   Declining trust forces publishers to claim (or disclaim) values

Joni Deutsch   Local arts and music make journalism more joyous

Robert Hernandez   Data and shame

Annie Rudd   Newsrooms grow less comfortable with the “view from above”

Sam Ford   We’ll find better ways to archive our work

Rachel Schallom   The rise of nonprofit journalism continues

John Saroff   Covid sparks the growth of independent local news sites

Tshepo Tshabalala   Go niche

Loretta Chao   Open up the profession

Brandy Zadrozny   Misinformation fatigue sets in

Gordon Crovitz   Common law will finally apply to the Internet

Kawandeep Virdee   Goodbye, doomscroll

Bill Adair   The future of fact-checking is all about structured data

Anthony Nadler   Journalism struggles to find a new model of legitimacy

Ben Werdmuller   The web blooms again

Jer Thorp   Fewer pixels, more cardboard