Document Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2019

Capstone Advisor

Aileen Gallagher

Honors Reader

Sean Branagan

Capstone Major

Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism

Capstone College


Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Communication | Journalism Studies | Other Communication


This thesis is an examination of the ethical use of artificial intelligence in journalism. Artificial intelligence is currently being used in all steps of the news production process: story discovery, story production and story distribution. Newsrooms utilize machine learning to analyze massive quantities of data and discover patterns that humans would normally never be able to pick up. Additionally, journalists also create templates so computers can write stories that are data-based, such as earning reports and game (sports) stories, and free them up to be able to work on other projects. Newsrooms can also use AI to personalize story recommendations to readers. While there is great potential for machine learning and AI in journalism, it is also an emerging technology that creates new ethical challenges for newsrooms. Interviews conducted with 12 people working in journalism, technology and law focus on issues of bias, transparency, legislation and attribution for algorithms, among others. Based off this research, an ethical framework was built for newsrooms to follow as they implement this technology.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Available for download on Friday, June 26, 2020