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Ensuring Trusted Local Journalism Thrives in the Age of AI


The explosion of artificial intelligence (AI) in our daily lives presents great opportunities, but we must approach this new technology responsibly and with caution.

  • While broadcasters relish the opportunity to embrace new technology to better serve their communities, the improper use of AI poses novel threats to broadcasting's unique and indispensable role in American life.

Go deeper:

Local broadcasters are the most trusted source of news and information in communities across America. In an age where misinformation can spread broadly and rapidly, broadcasters' commitment to providing reliable news is more important than ever. However, AI presents new challenges that local stations must address to preserve the trust between broadcasters and their communities.

  • Broadcast newsrooms across the country are spending an incredible amount of time and resources to verify stories and footage that could have been distorted by AI and ensure information remains dependable and trustworthy.
  • Broadcasters are combatting online misinformation by creating teams to fact-check viral stories and claims that spread in a rapid manner via easily accessible AI tools. Examples include the CBS News Confirmed unit that investigates deepfakes and misinformation and TEGNA's VERIFY team that evaluates stories and helps viewers identify misinformation.

As misinformation and disinformation run rampant online, local television and radio stations become even more critical and trusted news sources for audiences. However, the lack of attribution and sourcing in AI-generated outputs could undermine that trust.

  • The lack of attribution makes it difficult to identify and distinguish legitimate, copyrighted broadcast content from the potentially inaccurate AI-generated content.
  • It also increases the likelihood of legitimate, copyrighted broadcast content being ingested and then mixed in with unverified and inaccurate third-party content.
  • Additionally, AI tools may be used to create images, video and audio that use the likeness of a trusted radio or television personality in fraudulent ways. The problem of the usage of AI to distort, doctor or manipulate information is a significant problem and any solution must be balanced with the First Amendment.

Most importantly, the use of AI tools allows the ingestion of broadcasters' copyrighted content into AI systems without authorization. This is problematic not only because broadcasters must spend more time and resources to fight the misuse and distortion of their content, but also because AI tools use stations' work products without compensation. This lack of compensation means fewer resources to invest in local news, negatively impacting the communities served by stations across the country.

The bottom line:

Congress should ensure new technologies do not threaten the trusted local journalism broadcasters provide.

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