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PAI Seeks Public Comment on the AI Procurement and Use Guidebook for Newsrooms


Automated writers, image generators, and even synthetic voice overs – in the past year, we have seen much discussion about AI in newsrooms. As many newsrooms continue to add AI tools to support the speed and quality of news production, questions remain on how to use AI responsibly and avoid harmful or unintended impacts.

The AI Procurement and Use Guidebook for Newsrooms provides a roadmap for newsrooms navigating the difficult questions accompanying AI procurement: Should your newsroom use AI tools? For what? Which AI tools should you choose? How can you adopt AI tools that support business, but are also responsible and ethical?

These are just a few of the many questions newsrooms face, and they are often explored by journalists with limited time to analyze them, especially those in smaller, local newsrooms. The AI Procurement and Use Guidebook provides the resources, examples, and guidance for newsrooms to be able to answer the questions outlined above. Through a step-by-step procurement and adoption process outlined in the Guidebook, newsrooms will be able to make the necessary decisions to support responsible AI adoption. The Guidebook provides a holistic overview of the lifecycle of an AI tool within the newsroom from procurement to governance and finally retirement.

Seeking Public Comment

The Guidebook is a result of a year of consultation with journalists, newsroom leaders, and AI tool developers, along with the broader PAI community. We’re now sharing the latest version of the Guidebook more widely and seeking public comment through Monday, August 21. Please submit feedback through this form.

Read the Guidebook

The feedback we receive during this period will inform the final version of the Guidebook which will be published by PAI later in the year. Through this process, we hope to answer the following:

  • What examples or uses of AI in newsrooms are missing from the Guidebook? What uses of AI are overemphasized or overrepresented?
  • What considerations related to newsrooms and AI are missing from the Guidebook?
  • Is the Guidebook understandable, relevant, and applicable to newsrooms in its current format?
  • What would make this Guidebook more useful for the newsrooms it targets?
  • Are there missing steps in the procurement and adoption process in the Guidebook?

We would love to hear your responses to the above questions and any further feedback you may have to the Guidebook. Please submit your comment using this form by Monday, August 21.

AI, Local Newsrooms, and Responsible Adoption

The Guidebook is the latest addition to Partnership on AI’s AI and Local News Toolkit, a series of resources to support journalists and newsrooms navigating the crescendo in AI taking place right now. In 2022, we launched a database of AI tools with plain language descriptions and the level of expertise required to use them in a newsroom and analyzed the risks associated with various types of AI tools.

Over the past year, we have consulted with a wide variety of stakeholders to inform the creation of the Guidebook. This includes discussions with journalists and newsroom leaders to understand where the most pressing questions lie when deciding on which AI tools to procure. We gathered insights from AI tool developers to better understand the intended purpose of their tools and the risks associated with adoption. In addition, we hosted several workshops and convenings at Local News and Journalism conferences like the Online News Association and the Knight Media Forum in order to hear directly from practitioners in the field about their top questions, pain points, and suggestions for the adoption of AI in newsrooms. As early as September 2022, PAI convened a diverse cross-section of stakeholders at an AI and Media Integrity Program meeting to gather input on the Guidebook’s contents.

In January 2023, we launched the AI and Local News Steering Committee, a group of nine experts currently working in the AI and news landscape including representatives of major news organizations such as Gannett, McClatchy, and the Associated Press as well as local news organizations such as The Richland Source, civil society, and academia. Since its inception, the Steering Committee has focused primarily on providing input and direction into the content and development of the Guidebook.

The focus and scope of the Guidebook is dedicated to the responsible adoption of AI tools through their lifecycle. The Guidebook is not intended to be a catch all for all matters of AI governance; in particular it does not focus on responsible data collection and management within the newsroom or on the cultural or labor impact of AI adoption. While those are important points of consideration, they are not within the scope of this document. The scope was defined using input from a diverse body of stakeholders and the AI and Local News Steering Committee. We focused on prioritizing the areas where there was no previous guidance for newsrooms and where possible provided other resources that may address the above topics for further reading.

It is our hope that the AI Procurement and Use Guidebook for Newsrooms serves as a useful roadmap for journalists and newsroom executives who are seeking solutions to streamline their limited time and resources by deploying AI solutions. If you have feedback on the Guidebook, please contribute to this effort by submitting a comment. You can also sign up here to stay updated on PAI’s AI and Local News work.