The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced a $3 million initiative to help local news organizations across the United States explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in their operations.
According to the foundation, AI is beginning to drive success at many national news organizations and is being used to grow subscriptions, serve up more relevant content, and lower costs by automating the production of certain kinds of news. However, many local news organizations haven’t tapped the full potential of the technology. Over two years, the initiative will support the efforts of local news organizations to assess their internal AI readiness, develop customized plans focused on enhancing their sustainability through AI/machine learning, and collaborate with AI experts and partners on product innovations.
Initial recipients of the grants include the Associated Press, which was awarded $750,000 to develop an industry-wide benchmark for AI readiness across editorial and business lines; Brown Institute at Columbia University, which will receive $500,000 to co-create, deploy, and popularize new revenue strategies for local news organizations that leverage AI/machine learning; NYC Media Lab, which was awarded $600,000 to develop and manage a digital AI platform that provides resources, information, and new knowledge to the field; and Partnership on AI, which will receive $600,000 to research major ethical challenges for AI’s use across the news lifecycle and create an ecosystem map.