ONA AI Tools Training Workshop — Great Lakes Region

Join ONA for an in-person AI tools training workshop for Great Lakes region newsrooms. This workshop is generously supported by the Joyce Foundation.

AI has been around since the 1950s but has emerged in the last two years as a force of change in many industries, including journalism. In this interactive, hands-on workshop, we’ll explore ways you can implement AI tools into your daily workflow in a safe, ethical way. We’ll explore pros and cons of AI, copyright issues and more. We’ll work with large language models like ChatGPT 4o, Perplexity and Claude, as well as fact-checking tools that can detect AI-driven deepfakes. We’ll learn how to write prompts, organize a “prompt library” and how to create images and credit them online. We’ll also look at how AI impacts data journalism, and some tools to scrape data, create graphics and monitor web page updates. Participants will get handouts with links to all of the training materials and exercises that they can take back to the newsroom.

Date: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT

Location: 321 N. Clark Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60654

What’s included: Thanks to generous support from The Joyce Foundation, your participation in this full-day workshop will include breakfast and lunch, travel support, and access to follow-up coaching with the trainer after the session to check in on progress and get advice as you implement what you learn during the session.

Who should attend: Anyone in your newsroom who is interested in learning how to use AI for news production. (One person per organization please; we will reach out if we have more spots available after July 29, once everyone has a chance to sign up!)


8:30 a.m.: Breakfast
8:45 a.m.: Welcome and introductions
9-10:20 a.m.: Introduction to AI Tools: We’ve been using AI tools for years and haven’t even realized it. But the influx of tools flooding the market in 2022 and early 2023 raise opportunities as well as ethical and legal concerns. In this combination presentation/workshop, we’ll approach AI with “cautious curiosity” and learn how to harness the tools to save you time and work. We’ll work with MidJourney and Adobe Firefly to create photo illustrations; basic editing tools; writing prompts and updates to tools such as Google Gemini, ChatGPT, Claude and others. We’ll also explore some pitfalls of AI tools and the legal/ethical issues surrounding them.
10:20-10:30 a.m.: Break
10:30-11 a.m.: Prompt Writing 101: A short presentation with tips, then examples and plug-play exercises on writing prompts for ChatGPT, Google Gemini, Perplexity and Claude.ai. We’ll cover how to write prompts that avoid hallucinations with AI tools, and how to train ChatGPT to present information in a format that you want it to. We’ll also talk about prompt libraries and how to write prompts for images.
11 a.m.-noon: AI Tools Lab: Let’s put those prompts to work! During this hands-on session, we’ll work with Claude, Perplexity, ChatGPT 4o, Google Gemini and other large-language models and tools. We’ll explore what these tools can do well (help with headlines, writing tips, summarization, research) and what they do poorly (write stories, etc.) and discuss legal and ethical ramifications of using them. We’ll explore many AI tools from JournalistsToolbox.ai as well. Participants will get a handout with tips, prompts and other resources.
Noon-1 p.m.: Lunch
1-2:15 p.m.: Fact-checking Deepfakes: Covering local or national elections? We’ll cover a number of tools and techniques to detect AI deepfakes in this interactive session, with a focus on the election. Participants get a handout with tools and exercises to take back to the newsroom!
2:15-2:30 p.m.: Break
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Image Creation Lab: We’ll work with — and modify — prompts to create images. We’ll also look at how to fact-check images to see if they’re created by AI (some new tools and techniques here). We’ll look at how tools like MidJourney have improved image quality over the past 18 months. We’ll work with DALL-E 3, Adobe Firefly and other tools.
3:30-4:30 p.m.: AI and Data Journalism: We’ll practice data scraping web pages with Google Sheets, scraping PDFs with Tabula and PDFtoExcel.com, building graphics with Flourish.studio, tracking web pages with VisualPing, and more.

About the trainer

Senior Lecturer
University of Illinois-Chicago
Longtime digital tools trainer Mike Reilley will lead the AI training sessions. Mike is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Illinois-Chicago and founder of JournalistsToolbox.ai. He is the author of two books, Data + Journalism: A Story-Driven Approach to Learning Data Reporting and The Journalist’s Toolbox: A Guide to Digital Reporting and AI.

More training opportunities

This workshop is part of ONA’s AI in Journalism Initiative, your home for resources to learn, experiment with and incorporate emerging technologies into your day-to-day. Check out our full program offerings and other upcoming AI events.

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Funding for this program and ONA’s AI in Journalism Initiative is generously provided by the Joyce Foundation. To learn more about supporting ONA’s AI programming, contact Hanaa Rifaey, Head of Strategic Partnerships, at hanaa@journalists.org.