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.
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.
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.
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.”
To answer this question, you might go straight to the source. Since launching his HBO series Last Week Tonight in 2014, John Oliver has repeatedly shot down suggestions that his work is a form of journalism. “No, I’m not a journalist at all,” he told CBS News. “Obviously, I’m a comedian.”
Press freedom is under attack, and not just recently. It has been on a steady decline for the last decade, according to the World Press Freedom Index, which ranks 180 countries every year.
It feels like a new conspiracy theory is popping up every day. Just look at the social media posts after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Doctors say the sudden hit to his chest caused a cardiac arrest, but within minutes, vaccine skeptics blamed the COVID-19 vaccine.
We’ve all heard the saying, “There are two sides to every story.” And sometimes, that’s true in journalism–and life. But balance is not an element of journalism and certainly not its goal. While reporters investigate both—or many—points of view to arrive at what Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel call “the most complete understanding of the facts,” giving equal time to both sides may not always be fair to the truth.