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OpenAI Partners with American Journalism Project to Enhance Local News with AI

OpenAI, the private company led by Sam Altman and known for its ChatGPT model, has announced a partnership with the American Journalism Project (AJP), a non-profit organization focused on funding local news organizations in the United States. The collaboration aims to provide OpenAI with access to a wider range of news articles and multimedia content for training its AI models, while the AJP will receive financial support and developer credits.

The AJP has provided funding to several notable newsrooms, including “The City” based in New York City, education outlet Chalkbeat, and criminal justice publication The Marshall Project. As part of the partnership, OpenAI will contribute $5 million in cash to the AJP, along with $5 million worth of OpenAI API credits for some of the AJP’s portfolio companies. This will enable these organizations to develop applications utilizing OpenAI’s technologies, such as ChatGPT and the underlying GPT-3.5 and 4 language models.

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One potential application highlighted by this partnership is the ability for newsrooms to create internal tools using ChatGPT Code Interpreter. These tools could facilitate the rapid creation of charts and data visualizations for news articles, reducing the need to hire specialized data journalists or external consultants.

The AJP, co-founded by John Thornton and Elizabeth Green, aims to support high-quality local news that reflects and serves the communities it covers. While embracing the potential of generative AI like ChatGPT, the organization emphasizes that it should be used as a tool to augment journalists rather than replace them. The AJP aims to explore how AI can enhance workflows, allowing editorial staff to focus on impactful reporting that matters to their communities. They believe AI has the potential to support local news organizations, making them more sustainable and enabling them to produce critical work for their audiences.

The AJP’s mission is particularly relevant as the decline of local newsrooms has been a concerning trend. Over the past 20 years, more than 2,100 local newspapers in the United States have closed, resulting in 1,800 communities without a local news source and a 60% reduction in newsroom jobs. The AJP aims to address this issue by experimenting with sustainable business models that support local journalism while acknowledging that being nonprofit doesn’t mean being noncommercial.

With the funds received from OpenAI, the AJP plans to establish a tech and AI studio that will provide coaching and assistance to its portfolio newsrooms. This initiative aims to create a collaborative learning community and a repository of best practices. Additionally, grants will be issued to ten newsrooms within the AJP’s portfolio to develop new AI applications, serving as examples for the broader local news field on effectively utilizing AI-powered tools.

In exchange for its support, OpenAI gains access to the AJP’s portfolio company articles, similar to its arrangement with the Associated Press. OpenAI views high-quality source material as essential for training its AI models and values the trustworthiness of the AJP’s content. The collaboration allows OpenAI to access additional training data while positioning itself as a supporter of journalism and a force against disinformation.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, expressed his support for the AJP’s mission and the collaboration, emphasizing their belief that AI should be accessible to everyone and used to enhance work. The partnership aligns with OpenAI’s commitment to making AI technologies widely available and beneficial to society.