5 top Pulitzer Prize finalists used AI in their work

Each year, the Pulitzer Prize award is given to those in newspaper, magazine, online journalism, literature, and musical composition for their achievements.

This year, for 2024, amongst the 45 journalists who have been selected as finalists, five people’s entries are AI-powered.

While the extent of the use of artificial intelligence in their submissions isn’t yet known, it is confirmed that the technology was used at various stages of their reporting processes.

Pulitzer Prize administrator Marjorie Miller told Nieman Lab that the board first began discussing how they’ll react to AI early last year: “AI tools at the time had an ‘oh no, the devil is coming’ reputation…”

Miller goes on to suggest the board’s approach from the beginning has always been exploratory and they’ve never considered restricting this as it could discourage newsrooms from ‘engaging with innovative technology.’

Often regarded as the highest award and honor in journalism, the Pulitzer Prize has now added a disclosure requirement for all journalism entrants. They must now share the use of AI during the process of researching, reporting, or telling their submissions.

More details about this usage may well be released when the finalists and winners are announced on May 8, 2024.

How the journalism industry is reacting to AI usage

As this technology becomes more prominent across different sectors, it’s understandable that award organizations and publishers are eager to put appropriate policies in place.

The George Polk Awards are considering how they’ll adapt rules for technology. Awards curator John Darnton spoke with Nieman Lab about his opinion: “If [generative] AI is an essential part of the whole project, I would look askance at it as an entry…

“Most investigative projects rely on some kind of moral judgment. And I wouldn’t trust [generative] AI to make that judgment.”

In July of 2023, the Associated Press signed a two-year deal with OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, to share access to select news content.

This was one of the first deals to be signed between an artificial intelligence firm and a major news company.

Featured image: Ideogram

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Sophie Atkinson