For journalists, the appeal of collaborating with academics is twofold: access to tools and techniques that can aid our reporting, and the absence of commercial purpose in the university setting. For academics, the appeal is the “real world” problems and datasets journalists bring to the table and, potentially, new technical challenges.

Knight scholar Marina Walker Guevara writes in Medium about ways journalists can gain access to high-end machine learning tools for dense reporting assignments. Guevera is part of a network of investigative journalists and initiated a co-operative partnership with one of the AI labs at Stanford University.

She describes the rationale for both parties and provides details about her six takeaways:

  • Pick an AI lab with ‘real world’ applications track record
  • Make sure there are incentives on both sides
  • Choose useful not fancy
  • ‘Reporter in the loop’ all the way through
  • It’s not magic!
  • Share the experience so others can learn


We cracked the Panama Papers with 400 human brains. Can AI help us next time? | MEDIUM | March 19, 2019 | by Marina Walker Guevara