Product & AI Studio

Exploring how the development of artificial intelligence can support a thriving, innovative local news field.

In July 2023, we launched the Product & AI Studio, which is exploring the smart application of AI and other technology within local news, with the goal of ensuring that emerging technologies are leveraged in service of more accessible, high-quality and affordable journalism in the public interest. 

To help our grantees understand and strategically leverage the rise of new technologies, we’re bringing in some of the industry’s top talent to provide expert coaching and collaborate on the development of AI-driven tools and applications with our grantees and external partners. As part of this work, the studio will organize a learning community across the AJP portfolio to document and share best practices, guidelines and lessons as experiments unfold. 

This studio is made possible by OpenAI and with support from the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.


About our AI grants

Supported by the partnership with OpenAI, the American Journalism Project team is proceeding with grants to 13 members of our portfolio to build our first learning cohort around artificial intelligence experimentation for nonprofit local news organizations. 

Below are summaries of what each chosen grantee will work on via this grant and learning opportunity. Please note that we expect plans to change as we execute and learn from these experiments.

Civic News Company

Civic News Company — the parent organization of Chalkbeat, covering local education, and Votebeat, covering local elections — is proposing using artificial intelligence to gather, summarize, and analyze public meetings involving education and elections, then creating databases to make the summaries publicly accessible and searchable.

CT Mirror

CT Mirror is proposing using AI tools to experiment with audience engagement and ways to enhance data analysis to enhance story idea generation. Using grant funds, they plan to hire an AI Data Journalist to lead their various experiments.

Marshall Project

The Marshall Project plans to expand its data team’s capacity to collaboratively experiment with AI by hiring a Deputy Data Editor. The new role will join the newsroom’s existing AI Working Group, an internal advisory that supports ethical use of AI for the Marshall Project.

Outlier Media

As the organization embarks on a strategic planning process to rebuild their SMS tool, they plan to integrate AI technology into their platform and workflows in key ways to further scale their SMS distribution and direct audience engagement efforts.

Sahan Journal

Sahan Journal will add a full time product role and invest in training for its business team that will enable it to experiment with AI, particularly around its sales/sponsorship and philanthropy revenue streams.

The City

The City has proposed two experiments including one internal and two external-facing AI-driven tools focused on audience engagement that will sift through online information, answer New Yorkers’ questions, and receive tips.


Cityside will prioritize experimenting with using AI-assisted communications to develop individual donor relationships across different giving levels. 

Centro de Periodismo Investigativo

Centro de Periodismo Investigativo will launch a pilot project to test AI for translating a subset of their content from Spanish to English and vice versa, while collaborating with linguistic professionals for quality control.


inewsource plans to experiment with AI technology and tools to produce more public records requests more quickly, targeting far more public agencies, and analyzing the voluminous documents received in response to those requests.

Montana Free Press

Montana Free Press plans to create an AI “ombudsperson” (AIO) tool capable of providing critical feedback regarding the adherence of MTFP content to the organization’s stated goals, practices and ethical mores to enhance accountability and reader trust.

 Nebraska Journalism Trust

The Nebraska Journalism Trust, through its flagship publication, the Flatwater Free Press, plans to pilot using AI to expand third-party distribution and serve more Nebraskans effectively and cost-efficiently. 

 Open Campus

Open Campus plans to use AI to synthesize hundreds of interviews on how individuals get the information they need for exploring post-secondary education opportunities and summarize higher education data and tools for their local partners. 

 Spotlight PA

Spotlight PA’s plans to build an interactive, bilingual conversational tool ahead of the upcoming 2024 general election in Pennsylvania that will connect new and underserved audiences with trusted, non-partisan information in English and Spanish.