📃 Download the report The Peril and Promise of AI for Journalism (PDF) here.

Journalists around the world are responding to the dramatic rise of artificial intelligence (AI), and particularly generative AI. Many newsrooms are experimenting with these tools and identifying new opportunities. At the same time, many journalists and commentators see AI as the biggest threat to journalism in decades.

To reflect on these critical developments, the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI) convened a workshop on Journalism, Disinformation, and AI at the University of British Columbia on November 21, 2023. Support and assistance were provided by the Consulate General of Germany in Vancouver, UBC’s School of Journalism, Writing, and Media, and the Centre for Computational Social Science. The workshop featured:

This report draws on insights from the workshop, along with recent academic and journalistic publishing. It highlights three major issues: 

  • How generative AI can make disinformation campaigns faster, more targeted, and more persuasive.
  • How newsrooms’ adoption of AI tools can lead to inaccuracies and other risks.
  • How AI may threaten the viability of professional journalism, including through automation and content generation that replaces human journalists.

In response, journalists are developing investigative practices to expose disinformation campaigns, experimenting with AI tools to make their own work more efficient, and developing ethical guidelines and labour protections to defend professional journalism.

Likewise, the news industry, policymakers, and platforms are considering responses that range from workforce training to newsroom innovation to new professional guidelines to AI regulation.

Through this report, CSDI hopes to contribute to important public conversations about the impact of new technologies on journalism and our information environments. Ultimately, the responses developed by journalists, policymakers, technologists, and citizens will shape our efforts to understand the world and act as democratic citizens.

This report was researched and written by Nishtha Gupta, Jenina Ibañez, and Chris Tenove. 

Report design and copy-editing by Andrew Munroe at the Global Reporting Centre.

Additional copy-editing by Netheena Matthews.

Report distribution by Emma Arkell and Michelle Meiklejohn at the Global Reporting Centre.

Thank you to the workshop participants for their valuable time and thoughts.

This research is funded by the New Frontiers in Research Fund from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, council grant number NFRFR-2021-00289. The principal investigator is Canada Research Chair Heidi Tworek, associate professor of history and public policy at the University of British Columbia.

Further details on the research team and acknowledgments can be found in the report.

Citation: Gupta, Nishtha, Jenina Ibañez, and Chris Tenove. (2024). The Peril and Promise of AI for Journalism: Vancouver: Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions, University of British Columbia.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0).