9th Street Journal to use AI to generate local public service journalism

AI to bridge local news gap with launch of The 10th Street Journal

By Joel Luther – May 20, 2024 | Print this article

The 9th Street Journal, a local news publication published by students in the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy, has begun using artificial intelligence to fill gaps in local journalism.

Called The 10th Street Journal, the new project uses the power of AI to generate stories from news releases and other reliable sources. As local newsrooms have downsized, service journalism stories — articles about road construction, event announcements and trash pickups — have often been eliminated.

Utilizing AI allows for quicker and more efficient news production. Every day, The 10th Street Journal will publish a few short stories with news from Durham, such as:

  • Government actions affecting daily life, such as road closures, airport updates and activities in local parks.
  • Announcements of upcoming government board and commission meetings.
  • Community events, including festivals and celebrations.

Each story will be reviewed by a human editor for content, accuracy and style before they are published. They will carry the 10th Street byline and a disclaimer indicating they were created using AI.

Bill Adair, editor of The 9th Street Journal, and Alison Jones, managing editor, recognize the uncertainties of AI in journalism and acknowledge the need for a human touch.

“But we also believe it can be harnessed to fill a void in local journalism,” they wrote. “We are excited to be on the leading edge of this new effort.”