AI-Powered Chatbot “Murrow” Aims to Teach Journalism Skills to Students

Ed Madison and his nonprofit partners have developed an AI-powered chatbot, “Murrow,” to teach middle and high school students the fundamentals of journalism, including fact-checking, writing, and storytelling.

Public school students often receive limited training in nonfiction writing, which typically consists of book reports or persuasive essays on assigned topics. However, this traditional approach may not be enough to cultivate curiosity, character, and confidence in students. Recognizing the importance of journalism skills in today’s politically polarized society, Ed Madison, an associate professor at the University of Oregon, has developed an AI-powered chatbot called “Murrow.” Inspired by the late broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, this innovative tool aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the world of journalism and discern fact from fiction.

Filling the Gap in Journalism Education

Ed Madison and his nonprofit partners have collaborated to modernize Edward R. Murrow’s legacy through an AI-powered chatbot called “Murrow.” Accessible on the Journalistic Learning Initiative’s website, this free tool offers comprehensive journalism training for middle and high school students. By leveraging Playlab Education Inc.’s open-source platform and ChatGPT-4, the chatbot provides guidance on various aspects of journalism, including idea development, interviewing techniques, ethics, fact-checking, writing, and storytelling. However, it is important to note that “Murrow” does not provide ready-made answers or essays; instead, it encourages students to strengthen their critical-thinking skills, adhere to journalistic ethics, and credit their sources.

Collaboration Between Journalists and Educators

The development of the “Murrow” chatbot involved collaboration between journalists and educators. Playlab co-founder Yusuf Ahmad emphasized the importance of combining the expertise of educators like Ed Madison with the power of generative AI. This collaboration ensures that the tool aligns with the needs of both educators and students, providing a comprehensive and effective learning experience.

The Importance of Strong Communication Skills

The Journalistic Learning Initiative (JLI), founded in 2015, aims to help journalism students develop their writing voice, excel academically, and cultivate self-directed learning skills. Ed Madison, the founder and executive director of JLI, highlights the declining emphasis on journalistic writing instruction in schools, coupled with the distractions of the pandemic, as reasons to re-emphasize the importance of strong verbal and written communication skills. Madison believes that these skills are not limited to careers in media or communications but are valuable in various fields, such as sales, fundraising, and law, where effective public speaking is essential.

The Threefold Functionality of “Murrow”

The “Murrow” chatbot serves three primary functions. First, it helps users identify topics to write about and develop strategies for finding sources and gathering facts. Second, it guides users in creating a unique story using the gathered information, avoiding repetition of previously covered topics. Lastly, it provides feedback on users’ written stories, offering suggestions for improvement. Through a series of prompts, “Murrow” assists students in writing news articles by highlighting the essential information to include and encouraging the use of the inverted pyramid model, where the most important details are presented at the beginning of the article.

Complementing Educators and Newsrooms

In the classroom, “Murrow” is not meant to replace educators but rather to support them in teaching nonfiction writing and journalism in a relatable context for students. While AI may be perceived as a threat in newsrooms, Ed Madison believes that it can enhance journalism by reminding writers of grammar and sentence structure basics. However, he emphasizes that crafting stories with a unique voice and perspective remains a distinctly human endeavor.


As the need for strong communication skills and critical thinking becomes increasingly evident in today’s society, the development of AI-powered tools like “Murrow” offers a promising solution. By equipping students with the fundamentals of journalism, this chatbot empowers them to navigate the complex world of media and distinguish between reliable sources and misinformation. While AI can enhance the writing process, it is the human touch that brings stories to life and captivates readers. With “Murrow,” Ed Madison and his partners are bridging the gap in journalism education, preparing the next generation to be informed, discerning, and confident communicators.






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