ChatGPT the journalist: a cat with a lion’s roar

By Emily Doughty &

ChatGPT sounds like the future for writing. It is a way of producing work that reads as if a human had written it for a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the speed. In the time it took me to write this sentence, ChatGPT could have finished this whole article and could have started working on the next one. It is the perfect solution for an industry which is suffering from revenue problems, increased costs of staff and the growing beast that is the 24-hour news cycle.

However, looking at journalism in that way ignores the core of what the profession is. While an undeniable part of the industry is the mass-produced celebrity gossip, there is a much more important part. The real beating heart of journalism is its ability to find the injustices in the world and reveal them, the ability to change opinions through comments and to educate others. It makes professions and topics, which may have been seen as inaccessible, free for all. It holds those in power accountable and prompts real change within the world.

So will ChatGPT impact journalism in ways that we can only dream of?

While ChatGPT may be able to write an article, the limits that remain mean it can never fully replace journalists. It can’t talk to sources who may feel threatened into silence. It can’t go to protests or war-torn countries and enable people to be heard. It doesn’t exist in the world and can’t see the injustice around it and work to build an investigation to reveal it. This is the true power of journalism and can never be replaced by AI.

So will ChatGPT impact journalism in ways that we can only dream of? Yes, it will. Talk to anyone who works in the industry you will hear stories of its uses as a way of writing the bare bones of a story, or used to come up with a headline or used to find the right pacing for a script. However, it is unfair to say it will replace the power and impact of humans. ChatGPT needs to be viewed as a tool to aid in reporting, not a thing to be feared. With the existence of ChatGPT, the future of journalism is safe even as technology develops.

Image credit: Focal Foto via Flickr

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