Oliver Darcy of CNN reports that in a significant move that underscores the rising influence of artificial intelligence in journalism, The New York Times announced, this week, the position of “editorial director of artificial intelligence initiatives” to be held by Zach Seward, co-founder of the tech-focused Quartz.

When many journalists and writers, including many legal bloggers, bost that there’s no place for AI in their writing, this move by The NYT signals there is a place for AI in journalism without compromising the integrity of reporting or writing.

Executive Editor Joe Kahn and Deputy Managing Editor Sam Dolnick emphasized that the core of Times journalism will remain in the hands of its expert human journalists. Same with legal journalists and bloggers.

Seward’s initial focus will be establishing principles for the appropriate use of generative AI in their newsroom.

Seward will then identify effective AI applications within the newsroom, build an AI team, and begin experimenting with generative AI tools. This move highlights the evolving landscape of the internet and reader expectations, and the need for news organizations to adapt swiftly.

Despite The NYT’s commitment to human-driven journalism, Darcy wonders for how long.

Will all of The NYT’s journalism “always” be written and edited by human beings in 10, 20, 50 years? I’m not completely convinced. And I’m not sure anyone can really say with certainty, one way or another.”

I remember ten or twenty years ago. In face of the net, The NYT was looking to preserve print subscribers. We know how that turned out – ironically, in a good way for the NYT and its readers.

Just like the shift from mostly print to mostly online subscribers, in just a few years we’re going to see AI play a significant role in journalism and blogging.

Seward’s appointment at The NYT is more than a personnel change; it’s a reflection of a significant industry-wide shift. As AI continues to mature, it poses both challenges and opportunities for the news industry.

Legal bloggers should heed this action by the NYT. More than a reduction of costs, the NYT is looking to use AI to improve the quality of its journalism.