AI will start fact-checking. We may not like the results.

“We can be open to the disruptive power of artificial intelligence at all points in our value chain, instead of closing ourselves off and assuming the future will look just like today.”

Algorithmic fact checking will go mainstream in 2023.

Teams of computer scientists around the globe have already developed AI systems designed to detect manipulated media, misinformation or fake news.

Some types of verification are well-suited to a high-tech approach: A team from Drexel Univeristy recently published a new approach for detecting forged and manipulated videos. Their system combines forensic analysis with deep learning to detect fake videos that would slip past human reviewers or existing systems.

But fact-checking isn’t usually so straightforward. A quote might be accurate, but misleading. Every news story is built on a subjective frame of what’s included — or excluded. That nuance, however, is lost when researchers test a new AI model against benchmark datasets that catalog posts as true or false.

The researchers who are developing cutting edge AI fact-checking systems today measure their accuracy to the hundredth of a percent against benchmark datasets of social media posts and articles. That’s the standard way for artificial intelligence researchers to test and share their results, but it’s not well-suited to supporting journalists on deadline or platforms that need to make moderation decisions at scale.

The teams building these tools are well-intentioned, but their work risks being a high-tech Maginot Line: A defense against misleading COVID tweets from 2020 that can’t anticipate — or respond to — the next iteration of information warfare.

The challenge for journalists, however, will be if these tools are widely adopted by social media platforms, ISPs, or content-managment systems. Fake and misleading stories might still circulate because bad actors would have the resources to engineer ways around the automated tools. Reporters, on the other hand, might find their work blocked as investigations and enterprise reporting lack the precedent in the AI’s model to appear “true.”

But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Journalists can engage with the technologists who are working in this space to improve — and direct — their work. As an industry we can wrestle with the ethics of letting machines audit and improve our reporting. We can be open to the disruptive power of artificial intelligence at all points in our value chain, instead of closing ourselves off and assuming the future will look just like today.

If we spend 2023 waiting for the killer AI app that will save journalism, we won’t like the results. We’ll wind up playing catch-up, as we have with each wave of technological disruption for the last two decades.

But if we use the coming year to act — by tracking the technologies that will shape our industry, by building partnerships that equip our organizations to grow, by taking stock of the skills we need in the newsroom — we can have agency over our future.

We can create a future where AI is a tool for making journalism more sustainable instead of inhabiting a future created by others

Sam Guzik leads product strategy for WNYC and is a foresight expert advisor at the Future Today Institute.

Algorithmic fact checking will go mainstream in 2023.

Teams of computer scientists around the globe have already developed AI systems designed to detect manipulated media, misinformation or fake news.

Some types of verification are well-suited to a high-tech approach: A team from Drexel Univeristy recently published a new approach for detecting forged and manipulated videos. Their system combines forensic analysis with deep learning to detect fake videos that would slip past human reviewers or existing systems.

But fact-checking isn’t usually so straightforward. A quote might be accurate, but misleading. Every news story is built on a subjective frame of what’s included — or excluded. That nuance, however, is lost when researchers test a new AI model against benchmark datasets that catalog posts as true or false.

The researchers who are developing cutting edge AI fact-checking systems today measure their accuracy to the hundredth of a percent against benchmark datasets of social media posts and articles. That’s the standard way for artificial intelligence researchers to test and share their results, but it’s not well-suited to supporting journalists on deadline or platforms that need to make moderation decisions at scale.

The teams building these tools are well-intentioned, but their work risks being a high-tech Maginot Line: A defense against misleading COVID tweets from 2020 that can’t anticipate — or respond to — the next iteration of information warfare.

The challenge for journalists, however, will be if these tools are widely adopted by social media platforms, ISPs, or content-managment systems. Fake and misleading stories might still circulate because bad actors would have the resources to engineer ways around the automated tools. Reporters, on the other hand, might find their work blocked as investigations and enterprise reporting lack the precedent in the AI’s model to appear “true.”

But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Journalists can engage with the technologists who are working in this space to improve — and direct — their work. As an industry we can wrestle with the ethics of letting machines audit and improve our reporting. We can be open to the disruptive power of artificial intelligence at all points in our value chain, instead of closing ourselves off and assuming the future will look just like today.

If we spend 2023 waiting for the killer AI app that will save journalism, we won’t like the results. We’ll wind up playing catch-up, as we have with each wave of technological disruption for the last two decades.

But if we use the coming year to act — by tracking the technologies that will shape our industry, by building partnerships that equip our organizations to grow, by taking stock of the skills we need in the newsroom — we can have agency over our future.

We can create a future where AI is a tool for making journalism more sustainable instead of inhabiting a future created by others

Sam Guzik leads product strategy for WNYC and is a foresight expert advisor at the Future Today Institute.

Jim VandeHei   There is no “peak newsletter”

Moreno Cruz Osório   Brazilian journalism turns wounds into action

Ariel Zirulnick   Journalism doubles down on user needs

J. Siguru Wahutu   American journalism reckons with its colonialist tendencies

Walter Frick   Journalists wake up to the power of prediction markets

Bill Grueskin   Local news will come to rely on AI

Tim Carmody   Newsletter writers need a new ethics

Emma Carew Grovum   The year to resist forgetting about diversity

Larry Ryckman   We’ll work together with our competitors

Jessica Clark   Open discourse retrenches

Joni Deutsch   Podcast collaboration — not competition — breeds excellence

Simon Galperin   Philanthropy stops investing in corporate media

Richard Tofel   The press might get better at vetting presidential candidates

Alexandra Svokos   Working harder to reach audiences where they are

Stefanie Murray   The year U.S. media stops screwing around and becomes pro-democracy

Julia Beizer   News fatigue shows us a clear path forward

Kaitlyn Wells   We’ll prioritize media literacy for children

Rodney Gibbs   Recalibrating how we work apart

Jody Brannon   We’ll embrace policy remedies

Parker Molloy   We’ll reach new heights of moral panic

Megan Lucero and Shirish Kulkarni   The future of journalism is not you

Brian Stelter   Finding new ways to reach news avoiders

Laxmi Parthasarathy   Unlocking the silent demand for international journalism

Sarah Stonbely   Growth in public funding for news and information at the state and local levels

Gina Chua   The traditional story structure gets deconstructed

Burt Herman   The year AI truly arrives — and with it the reckoning

John Davidow   A year of intergenerational learning

Ståle Grut   Your newsroom experiences a Midjourney-gate, too

Ayala Panievsky   It’s time for PR for journalism

Eric Holthaus   As social media fragments, marginalized voices gain more power

Jakob Moll   Journalism startups will think beyond English

Sarah Alvarez   Dream bigger or lose out

Martina Efeyini   Talk to Gen Z. They’re the experts of Gen Z.

AX Mina   Journalism in a time of permacrisis

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   More of the same

S. Mitra Kalita   “Everything sucks. Good luck to you.”

Jessica Maddox   Journalists keep getting manipulated by internet culture

Mariana Moura Santos   A woman who speaks is a woman who changes the world

Francesco Zaffarano   There is no end of “social media”

Sue Cross   Thinking and acting collectively to save the news

Sumi Aggarwal   Smart newsrooms will prioritize board development

Gabe Schneider   Well-funded journalism leaders stop making disparate pay

Esther Kezia Thorpe   Subscription pressures force product innovation

Joe Amditis   AI throws a lifeline to local publishers

Kirstin McCudden   We’ll codify protection of journalism and newsgathering

Daniel Trielli   Trust in news will continue to fall. Just look at Brazil.

Sam Guzik   AI will start fact-checking. We may not like the results.

Alex Sujong Laughlin   Credit where it’s due

Peter Sterne   AI enters the newsroom

Delano Massey   The industry shakes its imposter syndrome

Basile Simon   Towards supporting criminal accountability

Taylor Lorenz   The “creator economy” will be astroturfed

Victor Pickard   The year journalism and capitalism finally divorce

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Journalists productively harness generative AI tools

Jennifer Choi and Jonathan Jackson   Funders finally bet on next-generation news entrepreneurs

Zizi Papacharissi   Platforms are over

Cari Nazeer and Emily Goligoski   News organizations step up their support for caregivers

Cory Bergman   The AI content flood

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Mission-driven metrics become our North Star

Laura E. Davis   The year we embrace the robots — and ourselves

Pia Frey   Publishers start polling their users at scale

Emily Nonko   Incarcerated reporters get more bylines

Janet Haven   ChatGPT and the future of trust 

Jim Friedlich   Local journalism steps up to the challenge of civic coverage

Dominic-Madori Davis   Everyone finally realizes the need for diverse voices in tech reporting

Lisa Heyamoto   The independent news industry gets a roadmap to sustainability

Janelle Salanga   Journalists work from a place of harm reduction

Rachel Glickhouse   Humanizing newsrooms will be a badge of honor

Sarah Marshall   A web channel strategy won’t be enough

Nikki Usher   This is the year of the RSS reader. (Really!)

Jacob L. Nelson   Despite it all, people will still want to be journalists

Sam Gregory   Synthetic media forces us to understand how media gets made

Alex Perry   New paths to transparency without Twitter

Amethyst J. Davis   The slight of the great contraction

Anika Anand   Independent news businesses lead the way on healthy work cultures

Anna Nirmala   News organizations get new structures

Johannes Klingebiel   The innovation team, R.I.P.

Ryan Nave   Citizen journalism, but make it equitable

Priyanjana Bengani   Partisan local news networks will collaborate

Kavya Sukumar   Belling the cat: The rise of independent fact-checking at scale

Jesse Holcomb   Buffeted, whipped, bullied, pulled

Matt Rasnic   More newsroom workers turn to organized labor

Hillary Frey   Death to the labor-intensive memo for prospective hires

Sarabeth Berman   Nonprofit local news shows that it can scale

Cindy Royal   Yes, journalists should learn to code, but…

Karina Montoya   More reporters on the antitrust beat

Dana Lacey   Tech will screw publishers over

Ben Werdmuller   The internet is up for grabs again

Sue Schardt   Toward a new poetics of journalism

Felicitas Carrique and Becca Aaronson   News product goes from trend to standard

Michael W. Wagner   The backlash against pro-democracy reporting is coming

Gordon Crovitz   The year advertisers stop funding misinformation

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Well-being will become a core tenet of journalism

Tre'vell Anderson   Continued culpability in anti-trans campaigns

Peter Bale   Rising costs force more digital innovation

A.J. Bauer   Covering the right wrong

Khushbu Shah   Global reporting will suffer

Masuma Ahuja   Journalism starts working for and with its communities

Mario García   More newsrooms go mobile-first

Wilson Liévano   Diaspora journalism takes the next step

Shanté Cosme   The answer to “quiet quitting” is radical empathy

Molly de Aguiar and Mandy Van Deven   Narrative change trend brings new money to journalism

Leezel Tanglao   Community partnerships drive better reporting

Josh Schwartz   The AI spammers are coming

Mar Cabra   The inevitable mental health revolution

Kathy Lu   We need emotionally agile newsroom leaders

Raney Aronson-Rath   Journalists will band together to fight intimidation

Eric Nuzum   A focus on people instead of power

Upasna Gautam   Technology that performs at the speed of news

Don Day   The news about the news is bad. I’m optimistic.

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-check (no, really!)

Ryan Gantz   “I’m sorry, but I’m a large language model”

Mael Vallejo   More threats to press freedom across the Americas

Mauricio Cabrera   It’s no longer about audiences, it’s about communities

Andrew Losowsky   Journalism realizes the replacement for Twitter is not a new Twitter

Juleyka Lantigua   Newsrooms recognize women of color as the canaries in the coal mine

Jaden Amos   TikTok personality journalists continue to rise

Susan Chira   Equipping local journalism

Cassandra Etienne   Local news fellowships will help fight newsroom inequities

Nicholas Jackson   There will be launches — and we’ll keep doing the work

Danielle K. Brown and Kathleen Searles   DEI efforts must consider mental health and online abuse

Dannagal G. Young   Stop rewarding elite performances of identity threat

Ryan Kellett   Airline-like loyalty programs try to tie down news readers

Barbara Raab   More journalism funders will take more risks

Christoph Mergerson   The rot at the core of the news business

Sue Robinson   Engagement journalism will have to confront a tougher reality

Snigdha Sur   Newsrooms get nimble in a recession

Elite Truong   In platform collapse, an opportunity for community

Errin Haines   Journalists on the campaign trail mend trust with the public

Kaitlin C. Miller   Harassment in journalism won’t get better, but we’ll talk about it more openly

Eric Thurm   Journalists think of themselves as workers

Jennifer Brandel   AI couldn’t care less. Journalists will care more. 

Surya Mattu   Data journalists learn from photojournalists

Paul Cheung   More news organizations will realize they are in the business of impact, not eyeballs

David Cohn   AI made this prediction

Brian Moritz   Rebuilding the news bundle

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Journalism education faces a crossroads

Al Lucca   Digital news design gets interesting again

David Skok   Renewed interest in human-powered reporting

Jenna Weiss-Berman   The economic downturn benefits the podcasting industry. (No, really!)

Eric Ulken   Generative AI brings wrongness at scale

Jarrad Henderson   Video editing will help people understand the media they consume

Julia Angwin   Democracies will get serious about saving journalism

Michael Schudson   Journalism gets more and more difficult

Joanne McNeil   Facebook and the media kiss and make up

Joshua P. Darr   Local to live, wire to wither

Christina Shih   Shared values move from nice-to-haves to essentials

Tamar Charney   Flux is the new stability

Anita Varma   Journalism prioritizes the basic need for survival

Jonas Kaiser   Rejecting the “free speech” frame

Alexandra Borchardt   The year of the climate journalism strategy

Nicholas Thompson   The year AI actually changes the media business

Andrew Donohue   We’ll find out whether journalism can, indeed, save democracy

Doris Truong   Workers demand to be paid what the job is worth

Anthony Nadler   Confronting media gerrymandering

Kerri Hoffman   Podcasting goes local

Alan Henry   A reckoning with why trust in news is so low