Pulitzer-winning journalists break new ground with AI-assisted reporting

Pulitzer-winning journalists break new ground with AI-assisted reporting

Two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists have made history by revealing their use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in reporting, marking a significant breakthrough in journalism.

Marjorie Miller, Pulitzer Prize administrator, announced that among this year’s 45 finalists, five disclosed the use of AI in their research, reporting and submissions, prompting the Pulitzer Center to further investigate the use of AI by journalists.

According to the Nieman Lab website, reporters from the City Bureau and the Invisible Institute used machine learning for their investigative piece “Missing in Chicago,” delving into thousands of police misconduct files.

Meanwhile, the visual investigations desk at The New York Times used a data-driven visual model to identify a 2,000-pound bomb crater based on visual clues, revealing instances where bombs have hit civilian safe zones in Gaza.

The other three finalists also integrated AI into their reporting, covering topics such as Hurricane Ian, issues in Florida retirement communities and gun violence in the United States.

“Missing in Chicago” exposes the failure of the Chicago Police Department to locate missing and murdered black women. During the years of the investigation, the reporting team used a machine learning tool called Judy to analyze text in police misconduct records and files from 2011 to 2015, eventually producing important findings.

In another example, The New York Times visual desk published a report in December 2023 on the Gaza conflict. The team trains tools to identify craters left by 2,000-pound bombs, the main weapon used by Israel for widespread damage in Gaza. Using satellite imagery, the team identified hundreds of bomb craters in the southern Gaza Strip, shedding light on the effects of Israeli military action.

These examples underscore the positive and constructive role of AI in investigative journalism, demonstrating its potential to increase the depth and scope of reporting.

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