OPINION: Pulitzer Prize gives nod to AI in journalism

Mar 21, 2024 | OP-ED, Opinion

For the first time, five of this year’s 45 finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for journalism utilized artificial intelligence (AI) for research, reporting, or presenting their stories.

Finally, one of the most prestigious writing awards is open to the use of AI.

This is historic as the Pulitzer Prize is one of the most recognizable awards in journalism and marks a shift in how we should approach journalism.

This is part of a wider acceptance of AI since OpenAI’s ChatGPT was released in November 2022.

Technological advancements are here to stay, and its infiltration in journalism and creative writing has already begun. Further, several companies are earning revenue from AI-generated content.

Open AI struck a deal with the Associated Press in July 2023 and penned a $5 million partnership with the American Journalism Project as well as the German publisher Axel Springer.

The Pulitzer Board’s acceptance of entries with AI disclosure in journalism is a clear indication that the integration of AI tools in newsrooms is not just inevitable but also beneficial.

Marjorie Miller, who sits on the 18-person Pulitzer board, told Harvard’s Nieman Foundation that the board started discussing AI policies in late 2023 due to the rising popularity of generative AI and received training from an expert.

Initially, she said the AI tools had an unfavourable image, but the board was interested in learning about AI’s capabilities and its dangers.

These fears about the dangers of AI have made many writers and other creative industry specialists reluctant to accept the technology, especially worries over plagiarism.

Instead of fearing AI, they should learn how to use it for their craft.

Zat Astha, Editor-in-Chief at The Peak Singapore, agrees.

“If ChatGPT was around four years ago, my stories would have been 10 times more impactful,” he said. “Every day I keep being impressed by the amount of time I’ve saved in harnessing the technology on offer.”

AI technology like ChatGPT raises different concerns for different individuals but the future is going to see even more advancements in artificial intelligence.

A study published on Springer Link compared three scientific articles written by humans, AI-only (ChatGPT 4.0), and AI-assisted (AI with human-supplied references) concluded that each style of writing presents its own unique set of challenges and advantages.

However, AI might not be a viable alternative to traditional scientific writing for several years.

With only two rounds of updates, ChatGPT has impacted the writing world, but it is going to take a long time before AI can replace human intervention.