RTDNA Releases Coverage Guidelines On The Use Of AI In Journalism



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAY 17, 2023) — The Radio Television Digital News Association has issued guidelines for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in journalism. The guidelines are believed to be among the first regarding AI from a national journalism organization.

The new guidelines encourage every news organization to craft a policy pertaining to the use of AI in their newsrooms. Each policy should pay careful attention to how AI impacts the accuracy, context and clarity of journalistic work; how news organizations will disclose the use of AI, in the interest of transparency; and how newsrooms will protect an individual’s right to privacy as AI tools might not be programmed with that in mind. 

“RTDNA is proud to offer this roadmap for newsrooms as we all come to terms with how AI will impact our world,” said Dan Shelley, President and CEO of RTDNA. “AI can be a valuable tool for journalists but never can, nor should, replace human judgment in any phase of the newsgathering process.”

The RTDNA Ethics Committee routinely reviews Coverage Guidelines to ensure they accurately reflect issues newsrooms face. The RTDNA Board of Directors voted to approve the changes last month. Since AI development is constantly evolving, the Ethics Committee will revisit this guideline frequently and amend as necessary. 

The Coverage Guidelines, like the Code of Ethics, do not dictate what journalists should do in every ethical predicament; rather they offer resources to help journalists make better ethical decisions – on and off the job – for themselves and for the communities they serve.

“AI is not coming, it's already here,” said Tim Scheld, Chair of RTDNA. “We urge newsrooms to have a policy and to share that policy with their readers, viewers and listeners. Transparency will be a critical element to building and maintaining trust.”

The AI Guidelines encourage newsrooms to have regular conversations about the use of AI and offer questions every journalist should ask when they use AI. That is especially important as we discover more about AI’s impact, and its limitations. 

"The issues here are important and complex — AI intersects with many core journalism principles,” said RTDNA Ethics Committee Chair Colin Benedict. “Instead of telling newsrooms how they should or should not use this new tool, our group of journalism professionals tried to raise questions news leaders should consider in drafting their own policies."

You can review RTDNA’s other Coverage Guidelines here and its Code of Ethics here.