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AI journalism helps win the New York Times a Pulitzer

Among the various winners of this year's Pulitzer Prize for journalism, announced this week, there was one that deserves special mention here.

The staff at the New York Times won in the category of International Reporting for "its wide-ranging and revelatory coverage of Hamas’ lethal attack in southern Israel on October 7, Israel’s intelligence failures and the Israeli military’s sweeping, deadly response in Gaza."

Included in the body of work was this remarkable investigation into the impact of bombing in South Gaza. In December, Zach Seward, the NYT's head of AI initiatives, explained on Threads:

The New York Times visual investigations team trained a pattern-recognition algorithm on satellite imagery from southern Gaza to identify more than 200 craters from highly destructive, 2,000-pound bombs dropped by Israel in the “safe zone” where it encouraged civilians to flee.

Reacting to the Prize win, Seward said the work "augurs a new frontier of computer-assisted reporting." He gave a presentation on this work, and many other AI initiatives, at the SxSW Festival in Austin back in March. Nieman Lab published the transcript here.

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Aftonbladet puts its own gender bias under an AI microscope

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet fed 120,000 of its articles into an AI-powered tool that could analyze text, video and images for patterns around gender representation.

Here's what they found, though please excuse the possibly-janky Google translation:

The survey shows that we have a dominance of men in our news feed, while women are more often seen in connection with "soft" issues. In our publications on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok, we see a significantly better representation and balance. We can also see that our journalism succeeds quite well in reflecting the population when it comes to a diversity perspective.

The tool used was created by Danish start-up MediaCatch, writes Martin Schori, a reporter on Aftonbladet's new 7-strong AI team. He adds (again, Google translated):

Part of the skewed gender balance is difficult for the media and Aftonbladet to change. Journalism's task is to report on major news events in the world and in Sweden, wars and conflicts, business, crime and politics. Areas that have traditionally been male-dominated. But in other cases, it's about challenging old habits and working actively to bring more types of voices into our journalism.

Read the full story

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