The Associated Press (AP) has taken a significant step in embracing generative AI, providing guidelines to its journalists as it explores the potential of this technology in news gathering. While acknowledging that AI isn’t meant to replace journalists, AP’s Vice President for Standards and Inclusion, Amanda Barrett, stated in a recent blog post that they have developed guidelines to assist reporters and editors in using AI effectively.
AP journalists are granted the freedom to experiment with ChatGPT, but they are urged to exercise caution by refraining from utilizing the tool to create content for publication. Any output from generative AI platforms is deemed unverified source material and must adhere to AP’s existing sourcing standards. The publication stands firm in its decision not to permit AI to manipulate visual and auditory elements, such as photos, videos, and audio clips. Additionally, AP will only employ AI-generated images when they are the focal point of a news story, and in such cases, the images will be clearly labeled as AI-generated in captions.
The guidelines further stipulate that writers must avoid inputting confidential information into AI tools and ensure that external sources remain free of AI-generated content. AP staff are cautioned against inadvertently using AI-created content that could spread misinformation and are instructed to verify the accuracy of the material they integrate into their work.
Given the influential role AP plays in the journalism community, its standards hold weight. Many news outlets adopt or adapt the AP Stylebook for their articles, making the organization’s AI-related guidance potentially impactful in the ongoing discourse about journalists’ use of AI technology.
Interestingly, even as AP sets these stringent standards for its journalists, the organization has established a partnership with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, allowing its news stories to be used for training generative AI models. AP has also incorporated automated tools into its workflow for tasks like summarizing financial reports and covering lesser-known sports leagues. This move aligns with the practices of other media entities, such as BuzzFeed, that have integrated AI into their news production processes. Additionally, AP has collaborated with various news companies and associations to endorse transparency in the data used to train generative AI models, underscoring the importance of ethical and accurate AI journalism.
These developments from AP arrive on the heels of The New York Times’ decision to curtail the use of its data for training AI models. The newspaper withdrew from a coalition involved in negotiations with AI companies over training data, further highlighting the complexities and considerations associated with AI adoption in journalism.