The Associated Press launches AI readiness survey for local newsrooms

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The Associated Press has started surveying local news outlets in the U.S. to assess their readiness to adopt technologies that use artificial intelligence, a first step in the news agency’s two-year commitment to help local newsrooms expand their use of AI tools.

The project is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

AP is distributing AI readiness scorecards to leaders of local newsrooms in the form of short surveys that can be completed online through early November.

The scorecard seeks information about technologies and applications that are currently being used, and how automation and AI might streamline news and business functions. For example, automation and AI can be used to help with Friday night football coverage; transcribe video and audio recordings; sort story, photo and video archives; convert website traffic into subscriptions; and many other tasks.

The findings will help inform a free, online curriculum that AP will build next year.

“There is a growing technology gap between national and local newsrooms that this project aims to narrow,” said Aimee Rinehart, AP’s program manager for the new initiative. “It’s critical that our survey has broad participation from local newsrooms of every size and includes AP members and non-AP members alike.”

News organizations interested in completing the AI readiness scorecard can do so here. The survey is open to both AP member news organizations and non-members. Each participating newsroom will receive a response detailing their scorecard. Based on their score they will be invited to learn more or help teach other newsrooms what they know.

Some 30 newsrooms will be selected from the questionnaire pool to be interviewed for greater detail on newsroom needs. These assessments will be conducted in partnership with students in the Knight Lab at Northwestern University.

“This project will show how technology can help pave a sustainable path for local news outlets, which are so vital to ensuring the future of our democracy,” said Jim Brady, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “That’s at the core of our mission and why we have long supported this kind of experimentation and innovation in the news industry.”

AP’s outreach to local news outlets is part of the Knight Foundation’s broader AI for Local News initiative to help local news organizations expand the application of AI in support of long-term business sustainability.

Learn how AP leverages AI to advance the power of facts: http://apne.ws/APW8sQp

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