You may be surprised to learn that news organizations like The Associated Press, have been using some form of artificial intelligence since 2014.
Many journalists try to be objective in their work, which means they don’t take sides or show bias. But there are renewed calls for journalists to stand up for what they believe is right rather than report from a position of neutrality.
Anything that persuades news consumers to pause before sharing is a good start and helps keep misinformation from polluting our information ecosystem.
The jury is still out on this question in the long term, but for now, most experts say chatbots will contribute to the spread of misinformation. Just for fun, I asked ChatGPT what it knew about me—and its response was startling.
Reporting often involves the presentation of conflicting information from different sources. When this happens, reporters must be diligent in verifying the facts and seeking multiple perspectives. Ultimately, the goal is to provide the context, evidence, and analysis needed for the audience to make an informed judgment. And in moments when information is hard to assess accurately, it is critical for reporters to explain to their readers why they couldn’t obtain that information.
ChatGPT and other AI writing tools have the potential to revolutionize many areas of our world, but unfortunately, creating disinformation is one of them.
A recent study by NewsGuard, a tech company that helps weed out online misinformation, found that ChatGPT could be manipulated to create misinformation in 80% of attempts.
Protect your sources. It’s the cardinal rule of journalism, and reporters hold this promise of confidentiality in the highest regard. Journalists will protect a source’s identity or withhold details of their conversations when revealing these truths would be morally objectionable or life-threatening to the source. Yet, some journalists have broken this sacred covenant when their own security or safety is on the line.
At the very least, journalists must strive to publish reports that are independently verified, accurate, and fair at the time of publication. As news breaks, it’s up to the reporter and editorial team to determine the best way to inform their audience. Significant developments are often shared as follow-up pieces with entirely new headlines and write-ups.
Ethical journalists act with integrity, seek the truth, and report on it. Telling a story of public interest requires transparency on who provided the information and how the reporter acquired it. Sometimes sources or experts will only speak with a journalist if the conversation is considered on background or deep background. The terms are part of a journalist’s reporting arsenal and should only be used when necessary. But some subjects, particularly those in positions of power, have used this type of attribution to their advantage.
Journalists have a long history of putting citizens first and holding power to account–and that shouldn’t change just because there’s a new owner on the masthead. Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel go even further and say in a Neiman Reports post that this responsibility is “social obligation that can actually override their employers’ immediate interests at times.”