Home commentary Commentary: What consumers need to know about the media using AI to report the news

Commentary: What consumers need to know about the media using AI to report the news

Commentary: What consumers need to know about the media using AI to report the news

Francois Nel


One concern is that it could stifle innovation. If news organisations are required to disclose every time they use AI, they may be less likely to experiment with the technology.

Another is that disclosure could be confusing for consumers. Not everyone understands how AI works. Some people may be suspicious of AI-generated content. Requiring disclosure could make it more difficult for consumers to get the information they need.


Here are a couple of examples to illustrate these concerns:

Imagine a news organisation is using AI to perform real-time fact-checking and verification of statements made by public figures during live events, such as political debates or press conferences. An AI system could rapidly identify inaccuracies and provide viewers with accurate information in real time.

However, if the news organisation were required to disclose the use of AI each time, it might lead to a reluctance to deploy such a tool. The fear of public perception and potential backlash could deter news outlets from leveraging AI to enhance the accuracy of their reporting, ultimately depriving the audience of a valuable service.

Another scenario involves AI-driven personalised news curation. Many news platforms use AI algorithms to tailor news content to individual readers’ preferences, ensuring they receive information that aligns with their interests.

If news organisations were compelled to disclose the use of AI in this context, readers might become wary of perceived manipulation. This apprehension could deter news outlets from investing in AI-driven personalisation, limiting their ability to engage and retain audiences in an increasingly competitive media landscape.

To mitigate these risks, publications such as the New York Times are offering “enhanced bylines” that include more details about the journalists behind the stories and details about how the story was produced.


Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to require disclosure is a complex one.

However, it is essential to have a public conversation about this issue so that we can develop policies that protect consumers and promote responsible journalism, and retain and improve trust in journalism, which is falling in some countries.