Transparency, Accuracy, Human Intelligence: Our Newsroom’s AI Policy

By | April 30th, 2024

The vast majority of media companies are leveraging AI in some way. But without a policy in place, things can get messy. We've created an AI policy for the Being Patient newsroom and published it for all to see.

By now, many of you  may have heard of generative AI – powerful algorithms that use artificial intelligence to create content. Many companies today are using AI in some way. As of late 2023, more than 75 percent of news organizations reported they were turning out content with the aid of AI. At least 85 percent of team members at these organizations are at the very least experimenting with AI. Some media companies even use these tools to help write the articles you read.

The big problem? These organizations are getting ahead of themselves. As of March, only about 40 percent of newsrooms surveyed had set forth any policies for their staff about how these powerful emerging technologies should be used. And in an era of deep fakes and doctored images, only about one third of organizations had thought through their AI guidelines and standards when it came to images, specifically.

Our team wanted to set clear guardrails for ourselves — and a standard for our industry — through clearly stating our own AI policy. So today, we’re publishing it on for all to see.

The gist: At Being Patient, we believe that publishing content produced by AI tools like ChatGPT is plagiarism. (These programs use other people’s writing to form the basis of its own language.) And, we don’t trust this generation of tech to come up with content on its own about a subject as serious, scientific, and nuanced as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

So, our promise to you, readers (and viewers, and listeners): We publish articles produced and edited by human journalists, with clear attribution. Through maintaining a human-powered editorial team and keeping very clear accountability for every item we publish, we’ll continue to stand by our editorial standards in our reporting, educational materials, and storytelling, always striving for the highest level of accuracy.

Will we shut AI out of our newsroom completely and insistently live in the past? We don’t plan to do that, either: In fact, we owe it to you, our community, to make best use of the tools that can enhance the speed at which we share our accurate, well-crafted stories and the range of formats and languages in which we make them accessible. Like many of you, the Being Patient team already makes use of certain, vetted, approved AI tools to make certain workflows speedier — for example, transcribing interviews using voice-to-text technology, or analyzing mounds of survey response data. We list, examine, and verify all the AI tools our team uses. It’s a fast-moving space, and we’ll be keeping an eye on it as the technology evolves, with journalistic integrity always at the forefront.

We value transparency, and we believe our readers deserve it. We hope more news organizations follow suit, clearly state their AI policies, and share them with the people who read their news every day.

If you find our articles and interviews helpful, please consider becoming a supporting member of our community. Frustrated by the lack of an editorially independent source of information on brain health and Alzheimer’s disease, we decided to create Being Patient. We are a team of dedicated journalists covering the latest research on Alzheimer’s, bringing you access to the experts and elevating the patient perspective on what it’s like to live with dementia.

Please help support our mission.

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