Friday, March 17, 2023

News-media roundup: A.I. journalism arrives; a Sunshine Week victory; hope for the future in a volunteer writer . . .

Community journalism produced by artificial intelligence has arrived, and it's scary, warns Reed Anfinson of Minnesota's Swift Coutny Monitor-News. He cites a Poynter Institute article by Alex Mahadevan and writes, "Deceiving the reader is going to become A.I.-assisted child’s play. Where does that leave citizens of a representative democracy who depend on trusted information to assess those elected to serve their needs?"

The Trust Project announces that its seal of approval has been added to several more news sites "as need for trustworthy news reaches crisis." They include its first tribal-nation site, Osage News; its first entirely health-focused site, MindSite News, which focuses on mental health; and Eye on Ohio, Investigate Midwest and the Texas Tribune.

Kirsten Lane
When high-school junior Kirsten Lane volunteered to write for the weekly Hickman County Times in Centerville, Tenn., Editor and Publisher Brad Martin welcomed her, "because folks who like to write are few." He reports that Lane "is polite, a good speller, writes clean sentences, can ask a question, makes focused photographs, meets deadline requirements and offers to go above and beyond. . . . Even if she doesn't go into a writing field, she will know about newspaper writing ... a cousin to efficiency, attentiveness and the ability to analyze. You may not think those abilities are important, and that this nation's future will simply develop on the sentence-by-sentence creations entered into hand-held devices every few seconds. I must say, good luck with that."

Sunshine Week, the annual promotion of open government, saw "a huge victory" in Arkansas, reports Arkansas Publisher Weekly, from the Arkansas Press Association. A bill to ease less-than-quorum meetings of boards "was rejected in a voice vote at the end of an all-day hearing," before and after the House's floor session. "After testimony from eight FOIA advocates representing APA, the Arkansas FOIA Coalition, the legislature-appointed FOIA Task Force and other groups and individuals, several lawmakers asked [the sponsor] to pull the bill down and negotiate an agreement with the APA and other FOIA groups. She adamantly refused, and the House panel rejected the measure as several FOIA advocates cheered." The Arkansas Advocate has details.

Editor Tammy Shaw
When Paxton Media Group eliminated a reporter's position at The Sentinel-News in Shelbyville, Ky., James Mulcahy quit as editor and reporter Tammy Shaw was named to replace him. In her first column as editor, she writes, "Last week I talked to an official at a local meeting, and they asked if the company was winding down the paper, one employee at a time. Not in the least. . . . This paper is more than one or two people, no matter how great the loss. It has lasted a very long time and will continue as long as there is support in the community."

Muckrack's "State of Journalism 2023" reports after surveying more than 2,200 journalists: Two-thirds say their work has been affected by economic uncertainty; about half considered leaving Twitter, but only 28% say they plan to spend less time on the social network this year; they also say they plan to spend more time on YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok.

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