Your newsroom experiences a Midjourney-gate, too

“The pressing need for rules and guidelines for creating or using AI-generated content, should spawn a broader review of how images are treated by the news media.”

With Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2, and Midjourney opening the floodgates for AI-generated images that are aesthetically pleasing, it will only be harder for journalists not to make use of this technology for illustrating their stories.

The current race to build tools, apps and products on top of machine learning models is introducing more people to how easy it is to create visually appealing content to create or enrich media content and news stories.

Want to try out an AI image generator? Everyone is now admitted. Need help with prompting the stuff you ask an AI image generator for? There’s a marketplace for that. Want Stable Diffusion in a slick mobile app format? It’s at the top of the App Store.

As we enter 2023, image generation is at the cusp of a real breakthrough. On yet another front, technology now forces a new discourse on, and impact assessment of, news credibility.

Technological innovation is blurring lines, and it’s increasingly difficult for media industry workers to rely on the long trusted distinctions “fake” and “real” when describing and working with AI generated content in journalism.

In a critique of the so-called thumbnail culture that contaminated journalism after Facebook and Twitter introduced article and website previews, The Outline in 2017 moaned that not every article needs a picture. Now, with Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2, and Midjourney opening the floodgates for AI-generated images that are aesthetically pleasing, it will only be harder for journalists not to make use of this technology for illustrating their stories.

Inspired by a recent “Midjourney-gate,” in which the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK unknowingly used an AI-generated image of electricity pylons to illustrate a news update about an energy price plunge, NRK is working on a new set of guidelines for the use of AI-generated visuals in news production.

The editor Gard Steiro of the largest news website in Norway, VG, now stresses the need for news media to adopt a common approach and standards when crediting and using images.

The pressing need for rules and guidelines for creating or using AI-generated content should spawn a broader review of how images are treated by the news media.

There should be more metadata and more information included with images, so the audience could scrutinize them, Steiro suggested at a recent industry event on “synthetic media.”

It neatly echoes the concerns raised by the Content Authenticity Initiative, a collaboration between technology and media companies establishing an open industry standard for metadata tied to content authenticity and provenance. With the latest developments in AI-generated content, it could end up as a critical factor for the newsroom of the future.

Ståle Grut is a doctoral research fellow of the Photofake-project at the University of Oslo.

With Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2, and Midjourney opening the floodgates for AI-generated images that are aesthetically pleasing, it will only be harder for journalists not to make use of this technology for illustrating their stories.

The current race to build tools, apps and products on top of machine learning models is introducing more people to how easy it is to create visually appealing content to create or enrich media content and news stories.

Want to try out an AI image generator? Everyone is now admitted. Need help with prompting the stuff you ask an AI image generator for? There’s a marketplace for that. Want Stable Diffusion in a slick mobile app format? It’s at the top of the App Store.

As we enter 2023, image generation is at the cusp of a real breakthrough. On yet another front, technology now forces a new discourse on, and impact assessment of, news credibility.

Technological innovation is blurring lines, and it’s increasingly difficult for media industry workers to rely on the long trusted distinctions “fake” and “real” when describing and working with AI generated content in journalism.

In a critique of the so-called thumbnail culture that contaminated journalism after Facebook and Twitter introduced article and website previews, The Outline in 2017 moaned that not every article needs a picture. Now, with Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2, and Midjourney opening the floodgates for AI-generated images that are aesthetically pleasing, it will only be harder for journalists not to make use of this technology for illustrating their stories.

Inspired by a recent “Midjourney-gate,” in which the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK unknowingly used an AI-generated image of electricity pylons to illustrate a news update about an energy price plunge, NRK is working on a new set of guidelines for the use of AI-generated visuals in news production.

The editor Gard Steiro of the largest news website in Norway, VG, now stresses the need for news media to adopt a common approach and standards when crediting and using images.

The pressing need for rules and guidelines for creating or using AI-generated content should spawn a broader review of how images are treated by the news media.

There should be more metadata and more information included with images, so the audience could scrutinize them, Steiro suggested at a recent industry event on “synthetic media.”

It neatly echoes the concerns raised by the Content Authenticity Initiative, a collaboration between technology and media companies establishing an open industry standard for metadata tied to content authenticity and provenance. With the latest developments in AI-generated content, it could end up as a critical factor for the newsroom of the future.

Ståle Grut is a doctoral research fellow of the Photofake-project at the University of Oslo.

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

Matt Rasnic   More newsroom workers turn to organized labor

Gordon Crovitz   The year advertisers stop funding misinformation

Raney Aronson-Rath   Journalists will band together to fight intimidation

Michael Schudson   Journalism gets more and more difficult

Ben Werdmuller   The internet is up for grabs again

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

Susan Chira   Equipping local journalism

Jessica Clark   Open discourse retrenches

Barbara Raab   More journalism funders will take more risks

Jakob Moll   Journalism startups will think beyond English

David Skok   Renewed interest in human-powered reporting

Ryan Nave   Citizen journalism, but make it equitable

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

Sarah Alvarez   Dream bigger or lose out

Zizi Papacharissi   Platforms are over

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

Wilson Liévano   Diaspora journalism takes the next step

Joanne McNeil   Facebook and the media kiss and make up

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

Kirstin McCudden   We’ll codify protection of journalism and newsgathering

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

Brian Moritz   Rebuilding the news bundle

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

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

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

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

Kerri Hoffman   Podcasting goes local

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

Sue Robinson   Engagement journalism will have to confront a tougher reality

Al Lucca   Digital news design gets interesting again

Moreno Cruz Osório   Brazilian journalism turns wounds into action

Eric Ulken   Generative AI brings wrongness at scale

Rodney Gibbs   Recalibrating how we work apart

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

Peter Bale   Rising costs force more digital innovation

Jessica Maddox   Journalists keep getting manipulated by internet culture

Nicholas Thompson   The year AI actually changes the media business

Eric Thurm   Journalists think of themselves as workers

Dannagal G. Young   Stop rewarding elite performances of identity threat

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

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

Gina Chua   The traditional story structure gets deconstructed

Laxmi Parthasarathy   Unlocking the silent demand for international journalism

Brian Stelter   Finding new ways to reach news avoiders

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

Eric Nuzum   A focus on people instead of power

Sue Cross   Thinking and acting collectively to save the news

Bill Grueskin   Local news will come to rely on AI

Alex Sujong Laughlin   Credit where it’s due

Cory Bergman   The AI content flood

Anita Varma   Journalism prioritizes the basic need for survival

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

John Davidow   A year of intergenerational learning

Parker Molloy   We’ll reach new heights of moral panic

Ståle Grut   Your newsroom experiences a Midjourney-gate, too

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

Joe Amditis   AI throws a lifeline to local publishers

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

Julia Angwin   Democracies will get serious about saving journalism

Mar Cabra   The inevitable mental health revolution

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

Jaden Amos   TikTok personality journalists continue to rise

Ayala Panievsky   It’s time for PR for journalism

Sarabeth Berman   Nonprofit local news shows that it can scale

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

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

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

Francesco Zaffarano   There is no end of “social media”

Joshua P. Darr   Local to live, wire to wither

Victor Pickard   The year journalism and capitalism finally divorce

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

Janelle Salanga   Journalists work from a place of harm reduction

Basile Simon   Towards supporting criminal accountability

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

Sumi Aggarwal   Smart newsrooms will prioritize board development

Ariel Zirulnick   Journalism doubles down on user needs

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

Masuma Ahuja   Journalism starts working for and with its communities

Amethyst J. Davis   The slight of the great contraction

Christoph Mergerson   The rot at the core of the news business

Joni Deutsch   Podcast collaboration — not competition — breeds excellence

Josh Schwartz   The AI spammers are coming

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

Elite Truong   In platform collapse, an opportunity for community

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

Alexandra Borchardt   The year of the climate journalism strategy

Walter Frick   Journalists wake up to the power of prediction markets

Cassandra Etienne   Local news fellowships will help fight newsroom inequities

Sarah Marshall   A web channel strategy won’t be enough

Upasna Gautam   Technology that performs at the speed of news

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

Surya Mattu   Data journalists learn from photojournalists

Emily Nonko   Incarcerated reporters get more bylines

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

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

David Cohn   AI made this prediction

Sue Schardt   Toward a new poetics of journalism

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Journalism education faces a crossroads

Alexandra Svokos   Working harder to reach audiences where they are

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

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

Tre'vell Anderson   Continued culpability in anti-trans campaigns

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

Priyanjana Bengani   Partisan local news networks will collaborate

Simon Galperin   Philanthropy stops investing in corporate media

Taylor Lorenz   The “creator economy” will be astroturfed

Anna Nirmala   News organizations get new structures

Janet Haven   ChatGPT and the future of trust 

Khushbu Shah   Global reporting will suffer

Jody Brannon   We’ll embrace policy remedies

Richard Tofel   The press might get better at vetting presidential candidates

Kathy Lu   We need emotionally agile newsroom leaders

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

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

Peter Sterne   AI enters the newsroom

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

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

Lisa Heyamoto   The independent news industry gets a roadmap to sustainability

Pia Frey   Publishers start polling their users at scale

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

Gabe Schneider   Well-funded journalism leaders stop making disparate pay

Anthony Nadler   Confronting media gerrymandering

Tamar Charney   Flux is the new stability

Karina Montoya   More reporters on the antitrust beat

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

Jim VandeHei   There is no “peak newsletter”

Dana Lacey   Tech will screw publishers over

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

Esther Kezia Thorpe   Subscription pressures force product innovation

J. Siguru Wahutu   American journalism reckons with its colonialist tendencies

An Xiao Mina   Journalism in a time of permacrisis

Snigdha Sur   Newsrooms get nimble in a recession

Delano Massey   The industry shakes its imposter syndrome

Rachel Glickhouse   Humanizing newsrooms will be a badge of honor

Alex Perry   New paths to transparency without Twitter

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Journalists productively harness generative AI tools

Mario García   More newsrooms go mobile-first

Kaitlyn Wells   We’ll prioritize media literacy for children

Tim Carmody   Newsletter writers need a new ethics

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   More of the same

A.J. Bauer   Covering the right wrong

Jonas Kaiser   Rejecting the “free speech” frame

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

Mael Vallejo   More threats to press freedom across the Americas

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

Larry Ryckman   We’ll work together with our competitors

Jesse Holcomb   Buffeted, whipped, bullied, pulled

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

Julia Beizer   News fatigue shows us a clear path forward

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year to resist forgetting about diversity

Leezel Tanglao   Community partnerships drive better reporting

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

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

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

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