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3 tools to make media companies stand out in the age of AI


Artificial intelligence chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s BingGPT have generated lots of buzz lately, much of it centered around how helpful or harmful these tools might be for publishers. While the helpful camp welcomes the benefits of assisting reporters with initial research, aggregating data and performing basic copy editing, others argue that these programs may also accelerate the spread of misinformation and fake news sites, which can compete with legitimate publishers for readers’ attention and advertising.

While newsrooms have been using AI tools to some degree for years, the technology has recently become more advanced and widespread, making it harder to determine whether copy was written by a human or generated by a bot. Publishers committed to industry standards and best practices need to find ways to stand out from lesser quality websites.

Here are three initiatives designed to help publishers stand apart from artificial content and get more credit for their good work.

Recognize your industry connections and memberships

Quality media outlets often take an active role in the industry and participate in groups like America’s Newspapers and the Alliance for Audited Media to promote quality media and industry standards.

Trust.txt is a framework developed by non-profit organization JournalList to help organizations earn recognition for their relationships with trusted industry organizations and associations. Similar to Ads.txt, publishers place a Trust.txt file on their websites that publicly lists industry memberships, owned domains and social media accounts. Industry organizations are also encouraged to create a file listing their members. The goal is to help search engines recognize the legitimate connections between publishers and industry associations.

“A great many of us depend on unreliable mechanisms to find reliable news online,” said Mark Stencel, executive director of JournalList. “Tech companies shouldn't be the ones who decide what is and what is not ‘news.’ Journalism organizations should. JournalList's Trust.txt files are a simple and efficient way to make that possible.”

Showcase your commitment to journalism standards and ethics

As more publishers use AI tools, questions may arise about whether they followed journalistic standards during the content creation process.

The Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) is a certification program launched by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to help quality media outlets demonstrate their commitment to creating transparent, ethical journalism. The program includes certification against the JTI Standard — a set of transparency standards developed to measure media outlets’ production of trustworthy content.

The three-step JTI certification process includes a self-assessment, a public disclosure in the form of a Transparency Report and a third-party audit to confirm the organization’s adherence to the JTI Standard. Once certified, media outlets can display the JTI mark to let advertisers know they are committed to following industry standards that lead to the creation of trustworthy content.

Get certified for creating balanced, reliable content

Brand safety has been an increasing concern as advertisers find ways to prevent their ads from running on websites that don’t align with their brand values or create misleading content.

Ad Fontes Media developed its interactive Media Bias Chart® in response to increases in misinformation and media polarization. By creating a methodology to rate sources for reliability and media bias, Ad Fontes offers a tool to help advertisers and consumers find trusted sources of news and information. The group rates everything from websites, linear and connected TV, YouTube channels, podcasts and newsletters. 

“When people say they don’t trust media, they lump quality news sources with those that create questionable content,” said Vanessa Otero, CEO and founder of Ad Fontes Media. “We want to elevate quality publishers and showcase their good work and commitment to transparency.”

The Alliance for Audited Media recently partnered with Ad Fontes to create a custom media bias chart featuring AAM-audited publishers, which Otero says tend to be among the most reliable, trustworthy sources Ad Fontes rates across the news landscape.

“Advertisers use the chart to create inclusion lists based on media bias and reliability ratings,” Otero said. “The chart helps advertisers support reliable and trustworthy sources while safeguarding their brands.”

Advertisers also use the AAM Audited Domain List, a list of digital publishers who have completed the AAM Digital Publisher Audit, to create inclusion lists and direct more of their investment toward publishers that have been vetted by a third party. The audit gives digital publishers another tool to help stand out for their adherence to industry standards and best practices for sourcing website traffic.

To learn more about these initiatives and how to get started, visit