Northwestern To Study GenAI Issues With Knight Foundation Grant

Northwestern University has received a $1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help newsrooms understand the potential uses and abuses of generative AI. 

The swirling debate about genAI has focused on issues like byline policies and plagiarism, legal questions about copyright and terms of use, and the impact genAI could have on jobs. 

Nick Diakopoulos of Northwestern’s School of Communication and Jeremy Gilbert of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, will study these issues and develop best practices for news organizations with support from the grant.

“The interdisciplinary approach that Northwestern takes to unspool AI is critical in staying a step ahead of its evolution,” says E. Patrick Johnson, dean of the School of Communication. “This partnership will unequivocally advance our efforts to engage with this technology and help strengthen journalism and democratic institutions at a moment when they are most in peril.”



The grant is being made through Press Forward, a collaborative created to revitalize local news. Last September, Knight Foundation announced a $150 million investment in Press Forward over five years.

“Individual journalists and small teams need the kind of powerful newsgathering tools that have traditionally been limited to larger news organizations,” said Marc Lavallee, Knight’s director of Technology Product and Strategy for Journalism. 

Lavallee adds, “Generative AI holds great potential for empowering all journalists, but proper adoption requires deep analysis. Northwestern's multidisciplinary approach, blending journalism, computer science, and product innovation, ensures these advancements will be adopted responsibly.”

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