AP Launches Artificial Intelligence Project to Support Local News

A post from Patrick Marks, the AP’s media relations manager:

The goal is to expand local news organizations’ adoption of AI tools and automation technologies in ways that support their business.

AP will create an educational program to help news outlets understand how they might apply AI. Working with the Knight Lab at Northwestern University Medill, AP will also provide strategic consulting and help with prototype development in select newsrooms.

“AP has been a leader in automation and AI technologies since 2014, when we rolled out automated corporate earnings reports,” said Jim Kennedy, AP senior vice president for strategy and enterprise development. “We’ve learned many lessons since then about how AI can support the future of the news business, and this program will enable us to share that learning with local news outlets across the country.”

AP’s program will establish a scorecard for AI readiness and a curriculum for exploring a full range of applications for journalism, product development and audience engagement. In the latter stages of the two-year initiative, the program aims to help a select number of outlets implement their own innovative AI solutions.

The grant to AP is part of a broader AI for Local News initiative launched by the Knight Foundation to help local news organizations expand the application of AI in support of long-term business sustainability.

“Knight surveyed about 130 newsrooms experiments using AI and found local news organizations are falling behind in the application of AI to support sustainable revenue and audience growth,” said Paul Cheung, director of journalism and technology innovation at Knight Foundation. “This initiative is to scale local news organizations’ internal capacity to leverage AI to help drive future business and audience growth.”

AP is one four organizations to receive funds from Knight Foundation. As part of the grant, AP will share best practices and resources with the other recipients: the Brown Institute at Columbia, NYC Media Lab and Partnership on AI.

AP’s grant from Knight Foundation is the latest example of how the 175-year-old news agency works with foundations and nonprofits to innovate in journalism. AP has explored automation and AI projects in local news with Newsday and, most recently, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution through a grant from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Funding from the Google News Initiative supported the creation of a news content sharing and collaboration platform, AP StoryShare, which is now being rolled out across the U.S.

Additional funders working with AP include the Lilly Endowment, Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Walton Family Foundation.

Learn how AP leverages AI to advance the power of facts.

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